A breakthrough research by an Indian-origin Kiwi scientist may soon enable humans to regrow parts of their body in the same way some amphibians do.
Vishal Bhasin, a former Wellingtonian, has spent the past six years in Sydney researching tissue regeneration, reports Stuff.co.nz.
He said. "I've already managed to turn [skin] cells into fat cells and bone cells. The next step is to engineer those cells into complex three-dimensional structures."
According to the expert, the key lies in discovering a way to prompt cells near a wound to grow new tissue, rather than scar tissue.
When a salamander loses a limb, the cells near the wound turn into "progenitor" cells, which are similar to stem cells. These multiply and form into the different types of cells needed to grow a replacement limb, such as bone, skin and tissue.
Human cells cannot turn back into progenitor cells, so instead scar tissue forms over the wound.
"There was some pathway there that they were able to switch on that we can't," Dr Bhasin, 36, said. "There's a worldwide race to find this pathway. The breakthrough, when it happens, is going to transform medicine."