Researchers at Duke University have announced this week, that they have bioengineered human skeletal muscle tissue that is capable of contracting like real human tissue. The announcement is sending waves through the medical community and the research is being hailed as a medical first.

The team of scientists have said the lab-grown tissue may become a powerful and innovative new tool for studying diseases such as muscular dystrophy.  Additionally, it also could pave the way for the development of specialised medications that will treat these type of diseases and hopefully eliminate the need to test these drugs on human beings. This brings massive benefits all round as human testing is both risky and costly.

Dr. Nenad Bursac, a professor of biomedical engineering at the university and one of the researchers involved, said in a written statement, “One of our goals is to use this method to provide personalised medicine to patients…We can take a biopsy from each patient,grow many new muscles to use as test samples and experiment to see which drugs would work best for each person.”

The researchers watched as they stimulated the lab grown muscle fibres with electrical impulses and a range of different medications, including the performance-enhancing drug clenbuterol and cholesterol-lowering statins. The researchers said that the muscle reacted to these stimuli in the same manner that native human tissue would do.

The biomedical research continues.

[Image via neurosciencenews]