Regeneration: When Comic Books Become Reality

Regeneration: When Comic Books Become Reality

Whenever I think of regeneration, I think of Dr. Curt Conners from Spiderman.  It’s a fantasy from long ago, and science is actually making it a reality. Many fans may already know what I am talking about, if you don’t, here’s a Wiki to jog your memory.

Some time ago, I read an article that claimed mankind would achieve immortality within the next 100 years.  Either genetically or bio-mechanically, we would be able to repair our bodies indefinitely.  Every week I see more evidence to prove this statement, but these next three articles really excite me.(Intellectually that is, eh hem…)

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Heart problems are one of the biggest killers we face.  It is hard to treat or diagnose them before serious damage is done.  Once the heart is damaged, almost nothing can be done to fix it.  That’s kind of scary.

“Over 5 million Americans suffer from heart failure because the heart has virtually no ability to repair itself after a heart attack. Only 2,000 hearts become available for heart transplant annually in the United States, leaving limited therapeutic options for the remaining millions.”  This means, if your heart stops, your options are limited…until now! (I sound like a game show host)

A research team led by Masaki Ieda, MD, PhD, recently discovered a way to reprogram cells called fibroblasts in the heart to become cells called cardiomyocytes.

“Scientists have tried for 20 years to convert non muscle cells into heart muscle, but it turns out we just needed the right combination of genes at the right dose,” said Dr. Ieda.

This shows us that you don’t have to go back to a stem cell state to modify cell instructions. Amazing stuff, go read HERE

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In Kansas, “Scientist Paul Wooley has regrown a section of bone in a mammal’s leg, a breakthrough he and collaborators say will revolutionize bone medicine worldwide. It will dramatically improve treatment for wounded soldiers and many of the tens of thousands of people seriously injured in traffic accidents every year, he said; it could make many future amputations unnecessary.”

If you break a bone, or lose a limb, they can effectively grow the pieces back together. I shattered my elbow when I was younger.  Because of the hardware needed to hold it back together, I have reduced mobility in my arm.  With this, they could have regrown the bone structure, eliminating the problem.  

I can see many ways regrowing bone could help people, especially the vertically challenged. ( You can’t see it, but I am winking at you Cheryl O_)

Original Article HERE

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This final article really reminds me of Dr. Conner’s research.  I remember as a kid I thought it was astounding how some amphibians could regrow a tail or other limbs.  I always imagined I could grow crazy limbs of destruction, and would go wrecking through my Lego towns.  (I was a rather odd child)

A group of scientists at Stanford University recently found a way to recreate a newt’s natural ability to regenerate cells in a mouse.  By blocking the expression of two tumor-suppressing proteins, they found that they could start cell growth. 

“Newts regenerate tissues very effectively,” said Helen Blau, PhD, the Donald E. and Delia B. Baxter Professor and a member of Stanford’s Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. “In contrast, mammals are pathetic. We can regenerate our livers, and that’s about it. Until now it’s been a mystery as to how they do it.” 

It is pretty technical in the details, but it is a facinating read! Go HERE

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 I love following this kind of science news.  I find it fascinating what man has discovered about himself.  Just think, death may no longer be an issue.

<We are becoming super heros>

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[featured image courtesy of jscreationzs ]

  • allen

    wow thats some crazy stuff. i didnt realize that kind of research was going on. but its amazing what we can do with medicine now. soon enough we will be able to instantly grow back a decapitated arm or leg with out the need of a doctor.

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