This health video focuses on the advancements bioengineered tendons.
Read the full transcript »
Jennifer Mathews: After four surgeries and more than two years of pain, Cheryl Wester is regaining strength in her right arm. The problem was severely damaged tendons. Cheryl Wester: When I started this whole thing my daughter was five. She's been through this whole thing with me. You can't play with Mommy. Mommy can't throw the ball with you. We can't tickle because it will hurt Mommy's arm. Jennifer Mathews: Cheryl soon found her way to Doctor Spero Karas. Dr. Spero Karas: When Ms. Wester came to me, her tendon was completely destroyed. She'd had three previous surgeries and basically had no rotator cuff left in her shoulder. Jennifer Mathews: The rotator cuff tendon connects the ball and socket joint. When it's damaged, it deteriorates. The body cannot regenerate it, and surgical repairs are difficult. In this lab, scientists think they have a solution -- bioengineered tendons. Albert Banes: We will take human cells, put it in a 3-dimensional gel, and fabricate this bioartificial tendon. Jennifer Mathews: Doctor Karas transferred tendons from Cheryl's back to her shoulder to restore mobility to her arm. The benefits of bioengineered tendons would be a less invasive surgery, and the tendon would regrow -- meaning less pain and quicker recovery for the patient. Dr. Spero Karas: It would make that tendon transfer obsolete, and that's where the exciting potential of the research that we're doing here is leading. Jennifer Mathews: Cheryl hopes those bioengineered tendons will soon help people avoid the long recovery she's had to go through. This is Jennifer Mathews reporting.