Wired - 11.9.11 by Katie Drummond
The research team behind the project, based out of the University of Pittsburgh, has made remarkably swift progress: Mere months after starting their first-ever clinical trial, they’ve already operated on four soldiers and are now training groups of surgeons from across the country in perfecting the approach. If progress continues at this pace, the trial will wrap in 24 months and the technique will become “a standard of care for orthopedists and trauma surgeons,” according to Dr. Stephen Badylak, head of the initiative.
It isn’t quite salamander territory, but it’s astonishingly close. The Pittsburgh team’s research means that, within this decade, the thousands of soldiers who’ve suffered major muscle loss during this decade’s wars can overcome devastating impairment — a life sentence of chronic pain, disability and no viable treatment short of amputation — and experience at least a 25 percent improvement in physical function. For civilians, the impact would incalculable. The kinds of trauma and health problems that now cause amputation, from car accidents and fires to cancer or diabetic peripheral vascular disease, would no longer cause irreparable damage.
Follow me on Twitter. Please subscribe to our news feed. Get regular updates via Email. Contact us for advertising inquiries.