WASHINGTON (AP) — Researchers say they have developed an experimental technique that has allowed a few patients to regrow new muscle.

Experts implanted thin sheets of scaffolding-like material from pigs into a few young men with disabling leg injuries and coaxed the men’s own stem cells to regrow new muscle. Physical therapy was used to put tension on the spot to promote the growth in the men, all in their 20s and 30s.

The study included just five patients. Some of the men improved enough to no longer need canes, or to ride a bicycle again, after years of living with injuries that have no good treatment.

The research, conducted at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, was funded by the Defense Department. The study is published today in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

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