Regeneration of living tissue in situ and a surprising observation in antisenescence.

Ordinarily if something happens that causes a chunk of your body to be removed (like, say, a shark bite) there isn't a whole lot that can be done to fill it back in. Scar tissue will form over the wound and skin will eventually cover over it, but that doesn't cause lost muscle and bone to come back. It's kind of scary, when you think about it - what's lost is lost. But that may not be the caes for much longer. A research team active in the field of regenerative medicine at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the …

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Artificially constructed human organs on the horizon?

The liver is arguably one of the most complex organs in the body due to the list of functions it carries out. Not only does it help to filter the blood but it synthesizes an array of proteins, strips worn erythrocytes out of the bloodstream, and produces a number of hormones. That's just the first page of the list. It's also unusual in that it is capable of regenerating and becoming fully functional once again given enough time and proper conditions. Except when it doesn't; there are a number of diseases and chronic conditions that can render the liver nonfunctional …

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Nanofibres used to assist in nerve regeneration.

Neurologists at Northwestern University have made a minor breakthrough in the field of nerve regeneration: They've developed a form of self-assembling nanofibre that can be used by damaged nerve cells to stitch themselves back together. The process involves a solution of molecules (the names of the compounds involved were not included in this article) that, under the correct circumstances, will arrange themselves into molecular-sized tubes that act as repair scaffolds for injured nerve cells in the spinal cords of mice. Ordinarily, when nerves are damaged, scar tissue develops at the injury sites and precludes rejoining the ends in any fashion …

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Biological mechanism that controls regeneration in zebrafish isolated.

At the Duke University Medical Center, biologists have been working with zebrafish, a common aquarium fish with unusual properties, namely, they can regenerate damaged limbs and organs, including fully functional eyes and hearts. They can re-grow an entire fin in approximately two weeks' time assuming that the fish is otherwise healthy. As it turns out, very small pieces of RNA (ribonucleic acid, which is involved in the synthesis of proteins, as well as controlling the state of certain genes) control whether or not the regeneration mechanism is active or not. If a particular micro-RNA strand, designated miR-133, has a low …

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Electrical stimulation of tissue regeneration in xenopus laevus.

Researchers at the Forstyth Centre for Regenerative and Developmental Biology in Boston, Massachusetts, lead by Dr. Michael Levin have figured out how to trigger tissue regeneration in xenopus tadpoles past the age when they are normally capable of it. After a certain age, the tadpoles are unable to regrow their tails or other organs after amputation, but some nicely nonlinear research shows that it is possible to duplicate the weak electrical field that builds up around sites of major trauma that heralds the regenerative process. This is a phenomenon found in many higher lifeforms, from frogs to deer (the males …

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It's not quite a new body but they're working on it.

Tissue regeneration therapies in mammals is progressing at an impressive pace. Everyone who's ever looked into the field knows that vertebrates lower on the evolutionary ladder are capable of regrowing lost limbs and organs, like salamanders and axolotls, but higher lifeforms really can't. The best that humans can do is putting things back more or less they way they were, a process that we all know as healing. Once something's gone, though, it's gone (save for the liver, which can infact regrow if a small portion of liver tissue remains and the rest of the body is properly cared for …

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