A research on salamanders that may help turn the long-standing dream of human limb regeneration into reality.
An article in the current issue of Chemical and Engineering News (C and EN), ACS' weekly newsmagazine, says that this means that instead of using artificial legs or arms, patients actually may regrow their own missing limbs.
C and EN Senior Editor Sophie Rovner notes that salamanders, flatworms, and certain other creatures can easily regrow lost body parts, including organs, nerves, and muscle.
People can grow new skin and nerves, for instance, but regrowing an entire
arm or leg seems like pure science fiction.
The article describes how salamanders - which can regrow an entire limb - and other animals are providing clues to regenerating human limbs.
Scientists, for instance, have discovered certain proteins and genes with key roles in regenerating lost body parts. Environment also may be an important factor in regeneration.
Certain chemicals in the amniotic fluid that cushions and protects fetuses prior to birth may help promote regeneration in adult mammals. There are other hints that electricity might be used to help jump-start regeneration.