Re-growing lost limbs may soon be a reality

A research on salamanders has brought closer the dream of human limb regeneration into reality.

Updated: Aug 05, 2010, 13:58 PM IST

Washington: Here’s some hope for those who lose limbs due to war, accident, or disease – a research on salamanders that may help turn the long-standing dream of human limb regeneration into reality.

An article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS`` weekly newsmagazine, says that this means that instead of using artificial legs or arms, patients actually may re-grow their own missing limbs.

C&EN Senior Editor Sophie Rovner notes that salamanders, flatworms, and certain other creatures can easily regrow lost body parts, including organs, nerves, and muscle.

But regenerative capabilities are rarer and much more limited among humans and other animals.

People can grow new skin and nerves, for instance, but re-growing an entire arm or leg seems like pure science fiction.

The article describes how salamanders — which can re-grow an entire limb — and other animals are providing clues to regenerating human limbs.
Scientists, for instance, have discovered certain proteins and genes with key roles in regenerating lost body parts. Environment also may be an important factor in regeneration.
Certain chemicals in the amniotic fluid that cushions and protects fetuses prior to birth may help promote regeneration in adult mammals. There are other hints that electricity might be used to help jump-start regeneration.