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Regenerative Medicine

If you follow sports at all, then you've probably heard about athletes rupturing their ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament. It connects the femur to the tibia, and once it breaks, it's incapable of healing. Treatment most often involves reconstructing the ACL using grafts from the patellar tendon, which connects the patella (aka the kneecap) to the tibia – although this can present problems of its own. Now, scientists at Northwestern University in Illinois are creating a man-made replacement ACL, which could make treatment much more effective. Read More
When a bone is severely broken in the human body, or a bone-fused prosthesis is implanted, a bone graft is also often required to ensure a solid mechanical repair. However, a graft that removes bone from another area of the body can be a painful and invasive procedure, and the mechanical stimulation required for continued bone regeneration in post-operative therapy becomes problematic if a patient is severely immobilized. To address these problems, researchers have discovered that coating magnetic nanoparticles with proteins and then directing them magnetically to the site of the injury can help stimulate stem cells to regenerate bone. Read More
Researchers at the Salk Institute have discovered an on/off switch for telomerase, an enzyme that rebuilds a cellular timekeeper known as a telomere. The scientists believe that the discovery could provide a way to get human cells to divide indefinitely without degenerating, thereby regenerating healthy organs even in old age. Read More
Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have grown a fully-functional organ inside a mouse; opening the possibility of one day manufacturing compatible organs for transplant without the need for donors. Using mouse embryo cells, scientists at the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine created an artificial thymus gland with the same structure and function as an adult organ. Read More
When pancreatic islet allo-transplantation therapy was first introduced, it provided hope for countless diabetics tired of daily insulin injections. While the technology has delivered on much of its promise, Tel Aviv-based regenerative medicine firm Orgenesis is currently developing a treatment of its own, that it claims addresses much of the shortcomings of islet therapy. In a nutshell, its approach involves converting the patient’s own liver cells into cells that produce insulin. Read More
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
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
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
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
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
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