In July of 2009, the Telegraph published a story speculating that the power of salamanders to regenerate parts of their body might one day become available to humans. A leap was made when scientists became aware – through studying the Axolotl salamander – that the powers of limb and spinal cord regeneration are similar to healing processes in humans and other mammals. This discovery helped to fuel further research into regenerative healing. One day soon, spinal cord injury and brain injury patients may gain access to genetically designed treatments that encourage the self-healing potential of the body.
Only a few months after the Telegraph reported that scientists, ‘believe that one day they will be able to completely unlock the secret and apply it to humans, reprogramming the body so it can repair itself perfectly as if nothing had happened,’ scientists have made great strides.
A current Telegraph article described the findings of a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The group of researchers isolated a specific gene they say blocks the healing power of regeneration in animals. ‘Researchers have found that the gene p21 appears to block the healing power still enjoyed by some creatures including amphibians but lost through evolution to all other animals,’ the article reported.
The difference between the way the salamander heals and the way we heal is that salamanders do not form scar tissue over their wounds. Scientists from The Wistar Institute in Philadelphia discovered that mice with no p21 gene healed in ways very similar to the salamander. ‘According to the Wistar researchers, the loss of p21 causes the cells of these mice to behave more like regenerating embryonic stem cells rather than adult mammalian cells. This means they act as if they creating rather thane mending the body,’ the article continued.
Their proposals for therapy were simple but the results may prove more complex to attain. The researchers suggest that one day soon drugs or other methods will be used to suppress the p21 gene at injury sites in the body using drugs or other methods.
Alleyne, Richard. (March 15, 2010) ‘Humans could regrow body parts like some amphibians.’ Retrieved on March 23, 2010 from the Telegraph Web site:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7448557/Humans-could-regrow…
Alleyne, Richard. (July 1, 2009) ‘Humans could regrow their own body parts like some amphibians, claim scientists.’ Retrieved on March 23, 2010 from the Telegraph Web site:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/5710718/Humans-could-reg…