Pig Bladder Hormone Allows Vet to Re-Grow Leg Muscles

Right thigh muscles regenerated after experimental treatment

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 20, 2011 2:13 PM CDT

(Newser) – Marine Isaias Hernandez lost 70% of the muscles in his right thigh in a mortar explosion in Afghanistan. Such extreme damage usually requires that the leg be amputated. Not in Hernandez's case. Instead, he was injected with a growth hormone that comes from pig bladders—and his leg muscle grew back. Hernandez has regained much of the strength in his thigh in what one expert calls a “remarkable recovery.”

Particularly exciting is the fact that skeletal muscle, which ordinarily won’t grow back, was regenerated. Hernandez, just 19 at the time of his injury, first had to build up the 30% of remaining muscle before surgeons placed a slice of a substance called extracellular matrix into his thigh. The pioneering surgery was the result of the US military’s $70 million investment in regenerative medicine research, the Daily Mail reports. (Click for another crazy story about pigs generating human organs.)

A man's leg.   (Shutterstock)
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