Regenerative Medicine Grows Back Body Parts

FILED UNDER: Science, Technology

A history-making procedure was performed on an American soldier last week to grow back a finger he lost to a bomb attack last year in Baghdad.

Doctors applied a specially formulated powder to the remaining part of the finger in an effort to duplicate what salamanders do naturally – grow back missing body parts.

Army Sgt. Shiloh Harris is part of a major new study called “regenerative medicine” that is being investigated by several of America’s top medical facilities and the Pentagon. $250 million has been dedicated to the research already.

The key to body part regeneration lies in a powder which is made from tissue extracted from pigs.

The powder tricks the body into regrowing the missing part by building a microscopic “scaffold” that attracts stem cells and encourages them to grow into the specific tissue required. If it’s on skin, skin will grow. If its on a tendon, tendon will grow.

All bodies have stem cells. They are what grow our fingers, toes and organs as we are developing in our Mothers’ wombs. Our whole body is essentially made by stem cells.

Although this sounds like science fiction, there have been successful experiments and on a much larger scale.

“They have taken a uterus out of a dog, made one in the lab, put it back in, and had puppies,” said Dr. Steven Wolf of Brooke Army Medical Center.

Also, a human bladder has been regrown and implanted in a patient by researchers and is working perfectly.

Harris will be watched over closely by doctors looking for any side effects that might occur. “It could grow a cancer,” Wolf said. “We will be closely monitoring for that to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

“If we can pull this off in missing parts the next step is, ‘OK, can we grow a pancreas? Can we grow and replace that in a diabetic?’ And can we do the same thing with a kidney and can we do the same thing with a heart?”

He hopes that one day people with heart trouble will be told, “That’s OK. We will just grow you another one.

“That is something that is real science fiction,” he said.

Photo credit: CNN

Comments (3 Responses):

Wow, it’s like a twist on the fountain of youth. Think of the possibilities….

It really is incredible isn’t it. It will truly revolutionise medicine.

I can see a big future for the Penis enlargement industry !

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