U.S. Military Makes Progress on Re-Growing Limbs
Soldiers deployed to war zones certainly have it rough, but, in many ways, a soldier getting a trip home early -- due to a disabling injury suffered on the battlefield -- has it even worse. For decades, researchers have been working to find ways to re-grow damaged limbs and muscle tissue, and now scientists have managed to make an important step in that direction -- by growing undifferentiated cells that could, in theory, be made to grow into any body part.
This malleable mass of cells, called a blastema, is capable of turning itself into whatever is needed. Creating that mass was the first phase of the Pentagon's plan for re-growing limbs. Phase two, under way at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, is to turn that mass into a square inch of muscle tissue, part of a $570,000 grant from the government.
It's unclear how long it will take the research team to achieve this goal (if, indeed, it's possible), but researchers hope that the plan will result in the ability to regenerate whole organs and, eventually, limbs, thus revolutionizing medicine as we know it. [From: Danger Room]
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