May 02, 2008
We are always amazed when we realize that a lizard can loose a limb or a tail, and then grow it right back as if nothing happened. It makes you wonder, what makes it so special that it can do that and we can't. Apparently, we can.
A new research at the University of Pittsburgh aims to achieve that. I just watched an amazing video at BBC's news website that reports on a 69 year old man that lost part of his finger, and was able to grow it back completely.
You can watch the video at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7354298.stm
The new medical technique is very simple. It uses a material called extracellular matrix, which is found in animal tissue and serves as the support and glue for the different cells. It also stimulates cell growth, which is what gives it the magical ability of helping regrow body parts in humans. Today's magic is tomorrow's science, I hope this technology makes it very quickly into mainstream medicine, as it will help prevent and cure many disabilities.
I did some research, and realized that the technique is controversial, with different opinions on whether extracellular matrix is needed at all, with some scientists claiming that they can achieve the same result with out it. But I will definitely keep an eye on this exciting research as the result is astonishing regardless of the method.
Here's additional information on Extracellular Matrix from wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extracellular_matrix