Duke University researchers have grown the first functional human skeletal muscle tissue entirely from induced human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs). The achievement could feasibly allow scientists to generate skeletal muscle tissue for disease modeling and drug studies, and potentially for developing hPSC-based therapies for muscle-wasting diseases.

“It’s taken years of trial and error, making educated guesses, and taking baby steps to finally produce functioning human muscle from pluripotent stem cells,” comments Lingjun Rao, Ph.D., first author of the team’s published report in Nature Communications . “What made the difference are our unique cell culture conditions and 3D matrix, which allowed cells to grow and develop much faster and longer than the 2D culture approaches that are more typically used.” The team’s paper, released today, is entitled “ Engineering Human Pluripotent Stem Cells into a Functional Skeletal Muscle Tissue .”

Previous research has shown that skeletal muscle cells …