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Biomedical Engineering

The Biomedical Engineering blog is the place for conversation and discussion about topics related to engineering principles of the medical field. Here, you'll find everything from discussions about emerging medical technologies to advances in medical research. The blog's owner, Chelsey H, is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) with a degree in Biomedical Engineering.

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Revolutionary Regeneration

Posted May 03, 2016 2:02 PM by Chelsey H

Have you ever seen a gecko regrow its tail? The regeneration of limbs by salamanders and geckos was the inspiration for research done at UNSW Australia. The research team identified stem cell therapies capable of regenerating any human tissue damaged by injury, disease or aging.

The research, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science journal, describes a process in which bone and fat cells are reprogramed to induced multipoint stem cells (iMS).

The ground-breaking technique switches off the memory of fat and bone cells and converts them into stem cells so they can repair different cell types once they are put back in the body. This is done by mixing the cells in a bath of 5-Azacytidine (AZA) and a platelet-derived growth factor. AZA is known to induce cell plasticity and helps "relax" the hard-wiring of the cell. The growth factor expands the cell transforming it into iMS cells. When the stem cells are inserted into the damaged tissues site, they multiply, promoting growth and healing.

Salamander limb regeneration also depends on the plasticity of differentiated cells. Image Credit

The technique has been successfully demonstrated in mice and human trials are expected to start in late 2017. Dr Ralph Mobbs, Neurosurgeon and Conjoint Lecturer with UNSW's Prince of Wales Clinical School, will lead the trials.

"The therapy has enormous potential for treating back and neck pain, spinal disc injury, joint and muscle degeneration and could also speed up recovery following complex surgeries where bones and joints need to integrate with the body," Dr Mobbs said.

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Re: Revolutionary Regeneration

05/03/2016 9:51 PM

This is way out of my field, but I'm amazed that the cells can divide and each cell differentiates into the kind of cells that belongs in its location. How does it know its location so it knows to be a bone, muscle, skin, blood cell, etc.?

These cells not only have to be in the right place but have to work together in an intricate structure. It seems that there has to be more than the local information available in each cell's DNA.

Regeneration is just a repetition of the original process that formed the body part originally from the egg cell. It's the same mystery.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morphogenesis

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Re: Revolutionary Regeneration

05/04/2016 9:46 AM

Amazing!

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#3

Re: Revolutionary Regeneration

05/04/2016 2:29 PM

Geckos are not amphibians. They are reptiles.

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Re: Revolutionary Regeneration

05/05/2016 2:39 PM

Good catch! I'll fix that in the blog.

Thank you!

Chelsey

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Re: Revolutionary Regeneration

05/05/2016 7:01 PM

Thank you!

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