Massive loss of muscle and tendon tissue as a result of trauma inevitably leads to loss of function, prolonged pain and suffering, and surgical challenges for the physician. Reconstruction of muscle and tendon tissue following such injuries is often not possible. Surgical options are extremely limited and amputation of the affected limb is not uncommon. The results of such efforts are typically disheartening for both the patient and the surgeon. A regenerative medicine approach that could reconstitute a functional muscle and tendon tissue, which by definition would include adequate blood vessel and nerve supply, would represent a major advance in the treatment of traumatic tissue injury.
The University of Pittsburgh is conducting a study in which a novel regenerative medicine approach for the restoration of functional musculotendinous tissue is being evaluated. The approach involves the use of a biologic scaffold material that would replace the missing soft tissue, initiate a wound healing response that stimulates tissue regeneration, and facilitates the reconstruction of functional, site appropriate tissue. Successful completion of the objectives of this study would provide a preferred alternative to the present “standard of care” and more importantly, offer a realistic possibility of functional tissue replacement. Restoration of quality of life to affected individuals, both in the private sector and in the military sector, is the ultimate objective of this work. This study has the potential for immediate impact, the demonstration of clinical efficacy, and the potential to lay the foundation for widespread use of this regenerative medicine approach.