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obeygiant
Mar 16, 2010, 03:56 PM
Humans could regrow body parts like some amphibians

Researchers have found that the gene p21 appears to block the healing power still enjoyed by some creatures including amphibians but lost through evolution to all other animals.
By turning off p21, the process can be miraculously switched back on.
Academics from The Wistar Institute in Philadelphia found that mice lacking the p21 gene gain the ability to regenerate lost or damaged tissue.
Unlike typical mammals, which heal wounds by forming a scar, these mice begin by forming a blastema, a structure associated with rapid cell growth.
According to the Wistar researchers, the loss of p21 causes the cells of these mice to behave more like regenerating embryonic stem cells rather than adult mammalian cells. This means they act as if they creating rather thane mending the body.
Their findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provide solid evidence to link tissue regeneration to the control of cell division.
They turned off the gene in mice which had damaged ears and they regrew them. While they say it is early days, there is nothing theoretically different about applying the same process to humans.
Professor Ellen Heber-Katz, the lead scientist, said: "Much like a newt that has lost a limb, these mice will replace missing or damaged tissue with healthy tissue that lacks any sign of scarring.
"While we are just beginning to understand the repercussions of these findings, perhaps, one day we'll be able to accelerate healing in humans by temporarily inactivating the p21 gene.
"In normal cells, p21 acts like a brake to block cell cycle progression in the event of DNA damage, preventing the cells from dividing and potentially becoming cancerous.
"We propose that any future therapy would involve turning off p21 transiently during the healing process and only locally at the wound site. This might be done through locally applied drugs. This should minimise any side effects."link (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7448557/Humans-could-regrow-body-parts-like-some-amphibians.html)

This could be good news for John Bobbitt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_and_Lorena_Bobbitt). Otherwise its fascinating news. :)

niuniu
Mar 16, 2010, 04:03 PM
Really must be an exciting discovery to make. Wouldn't you love to be born 200 years from now and see what the state of surgery is like.

rdowns
Mar 16, 2010, 04:10 PM
This could be good news for John Bobbitt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_and_Lorena_Bobbitt). Otherwise its fascinating news. :)

Eff John Bobbit? Maybe we can re-grow spines for our politicians.

Scooterman1
Mar 16, 2010, 04:16 PM
Fascinating!

paddy
Mar 16, 2010, 04:35 PM
If it wasn't in the bible it isn't true!

appleguy123
Mar 16, 2010, 04:43 PM
Is there anything stopping these scientists from regrowing tissue deteriorated by age? For example if the heart of an old person is wearing, they could just remove small segments of it and grow a young heart, or would the regrown heart be old too?

Queso
Mar 16, 2010, 04:46 PM
Bit worrying about the tumour possibilities, but as long as they can turn it off again it should be a massive step forward. Could they even regrow functioning nerves, eyeballs, maybe even clone a new heart to replace a damaged one with the patient's own tissue.

Is there anything stopping these scientists from regrowing tissue deteriorated by age? For example if the heart of an old person is wearing, they could just remove small segments of it and grow a young heart, or would the regrown heart be old too?
I remember reading somewhere that Dolly the sheep died of old age at the same age the donor DNA would have been. Even if that's true however and our lives remain with a finite lifespan, the time we have should be more enjoyable as a result of these treatments.

NeuralControl
Mar 16, 2010, 05:37 PM
This is great research with tremendous potential. I hope to read more about this in the coming years. It's going to be a long time before research or even testing on humans will occur. I'm really interested to see how they manage to control cancerous growths with the rapid proliferation of new cells.

nick1516
Mar 16, 2010, 05:51 PM
This is great, I have a feeling that my generation will have a longer lifespan because of all the gene therapy research going on.

Don't panic
Mar 16, 2010, 06:46 PM
Humans could regrow body parts like some amphibians

link (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7448557/Humans-could-regrow-body-parts-like-some-amphibians.html)

This could be good news for John Bobbitt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_and_Lorena_Bobbitt). Otherwise its fascinating news. :)

very cool story
it is a follow up from this
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article559955.ece


this is the actual article, for those interested
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/03/08/1000830107.full.pdf+html?sid=8ec0e69d-cfe7-43c4-a3a2-ae2d03abf6c8

note that so far the only tested ability of the original mice strain and this p21- strain is to close holes poked into its ear, which normal mice cannot do, there is no actual regeneration of limbs, for example.

another issue is that lack of p21 activity is associated to increased DNA damage and is one of the key aspects of many tumors (and to some forms of autoimmune diseases).
However if this can be tightly controlled locally (and there is no reason to think it won't in the near future), it could be a really important starting point for future treatment of severe wounds. Growing organs is still way off, though.

my guess is that it facilitates the re-activation of stem cells.
I wonder if deer antler replacement is driven by shutting down p21 in some cell populations

macbook yes
Mar 17, 2010, 12:45 AM
This reminds me of The Tough Man in the Tender Chicken.
Bones: "If I were going to combine human and animal DNA with an eye towards creating a super soldier, I'd go with a flatworm."
"Why?"
"Self-regeneration, obviously."

kernkraft
Mar 17, 2010, 12:51 AM
Growing body parts? How about losing some?

pooky
Mar 17, 2010, 09:33 AM
Is there anything stopping these scientists from regrowing tissue deteriorated by age? For example if the heart of an old person is wearing, they could just remove small segments of it and grow a young heart, or would the regrown heart be old too?

If the heart was damaged (e.g., from a heart attack), then they could probably regrow it in this fashion and get a healthier heart as a result. However, the heart would still be old. A lot of it has to do with telomeres. These are little pieces of DNA at the ends of chromosomes that deteriorate a little bit every time a cell divides. This deterioration is thought to be a big part of aging.

IOW, yes this could replace damaged organs. If you want to replace old organs with young ones, there is much more promise in using tissue culture and stem cells, where they just grow you a new heart in vitro and just transplant it in when it's properly cooked.

I personally am looking forward to my future bionic organs. Just call me robopooky.