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Regenerative Medicine

A green anole, that has regrown the end of its tail

If you ever had a pet lizard as a child, it was quite likely a green anole. As is the case with other lizards, they have the ability to break off their own tail when attacked by a predator, and then regrow it. Scientists from Arizona State University recently announced that they have cracked the code regarding that tail regrowth process, and are now hoping that it could be applied to the field of regenerative medicine.  Read More

A vial of the clear hydrogel turns to a white semi-solid as it's heated to body temperatur...

In the field of regenerative medicine, one of the current areas of interest involves the use of scaffolding-like materials that a patient's own cells can be "seeded" onto. As the cells grow and populate the material, they gradually replace it, until all that remains is a solid piece of tissue or bone. Now, scientists at Houston's Rice University have taken that concept a step further, using a polymer that is liquid at room temperature, but that solidifies into a scaffold when injected into patients' bodies.  Read More

A microscope image of some of the regenerated esophageal tissue

Ordinarily, when patients require a total or partial replacement of their esophagus, tissue from their own stomach or intestine is used. This doesn't always result in a fully-functioning organ, plus it also involves the surgical removal of the needed material. Now, however, scientists have come a step closer to being able to grow a new esophagus from the patient's own stem cells, and in fact have already done so – with rats.  Read More

Biodegradable scaffolding material, seeded with a test subject's cells and sewn into a vag...

Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome is a genetic condition in which girls are born either without a vagina, or with one that's underdeveloped. While there are ways of addressing the situation, they're not without their drawbacks. Now, however, four young women have shown great success with implanted vaginal organs that were grown from their own cells.  Read More

Researchers have regenerated the thymus in mice, potentially paving the way for regenerati...

It may not be to quite the same level achieved by Victor Frankenstein, but work by a team from the University of Edinburgh is likely to have significant real-world implications in the field of regenerative medicine. For the first time, the team has successfully regenerated a living organ in mice, not by using a jolt of electricity, but by manipulating DNA.  Read More

Mouse embryo generated from STAP cells (Image: Riken)

An international research effort has found that mature animal cells can be shocked into an embryonic state simply by soaking them in acid or putting them under physical stress. The fortuitous breakthrough could prove to be massive for many fields of medical research if the method can be replicated using human cells, something researchers are confident will be possible.  Read More

A US$30,000 grant will see human stem cells sent to the International Space Station (ISS) ...

A drawback for the use of stem cells in medical treatment is their limited supply due to slow rate of growth in conventional laboratories. Dr Abba Zubair of the Cell Therapy Laboratory at Mayo Clinic in Florida believes this problem could be overcome and stem cell generation sped up by conducting the process in space. He will now have the opportunity to put his hypothesis to the test, courtesy of a US$30,000 grant that will see Zubair send human stem cells to the International Space Station (ISS) to observe whether they do in fact grow at a greater rate than on terra firma.  Read More

Researchers have regrown hair, cartilage, bone and soft tissues in a mouse model (Photo: R...

Anyone who has left youth behind them knows that bumps and scrapes don't heal as fast as they used to. But that could change with researchers at the Stem Cell Program at Boston Children's Hospital finding a way to regrow hair, cartilage, bone, skin and other soft tissues in a mouse by reactivating a dormant gene called Lin28a. The discovery could lead to new treatments that provide adults with the regenerative powers they possessed when very young.  Read More

A cross-section of Organovo's 3D bio-printed liver tissue

Back in 2009, we heard about a 3D bio-printer that had been developed through a collaboration between Australian engineering firm Invetech, and Organovo, a San Diego-based regenerative medicine company. The device incorporates two print heads – one for placing human cells, and the other for placing a hydrogel, scaffold, or support matrix. At the time, the hope was that the printer could someday be used to create organs for transplant purposes. This week, Organovo announced that it has succeeded in using the device to create three-dimensional functioning human livers – albeit tiny ones.  Read More

Researchers have found that oxygen-containing free radicals aid rather than harm cell rege...

Researchers at the University of Manchester have found that Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) – oxygen-containing free radicals that are commonly believed to be harmful to cells – actually play a vital role in the regeneration of the tails of tadpoles. The finding could have profound implications for the healing and regeneration of human tissue.  Read More

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