Posted on Feb 10, 2019, 5 p.m.
Scientists from Texas A&M University have now figured out how to regrow bone and joints of a mouse’s amputated toes, much like a lizard would, as published in the journal Nature Communications.
Mammals typically do not regenerate body parts, this development may one day lead to medical procedures in which amputees are able to grow back missing limbs. According to New Scientist a cocktail of proteins that stimulate regeneration has promoted lab mice to grow back a greater portion of their amputated toes than was possible in the past.
In this transformational study biologists amputated toes off of mice and then treated them with a cocktail of BMP2 and BMP9 proteins, which triggered their bodies to grow back missing bones and the cartilage necessary to support toes joints in a medical first.
It was noted that the animals did not grow back complete toes, however they did get closer to a completed digit than in past studies in which the animals only grew some of the missing bones. Even if the animals had fully regenerated there would still be a great deal research needed to move from showing proof of concept where a protein cocktail can regenerate cartilage to the point where showing which proteins could be used to grow back a human limb.
Nonetheless all clinical research has a starting point somewhere, and this may be it; if their findings and progress hold up, we may be able to someday in the future find ourselves with a new way to treat amputees.
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