Powder Could Help Wounded Regrow Limbs

Substance extracted from pigs provides 'scaffold' for new tissue
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2008 5:40 PM CDT
Powder Could Help Wounded Regrow Limbs
An Ozark hellbender salamander is kept by biologists working on a captive breeding program for the St. Louis Zoo in Missouri. The salamanders' population has decreased dramatically in the last 20 year   (KRT Photos)

Powder sprinkled on the wounded hand of an Iraq veteran might help him regrow a lost finger, CNN reports. The new therapy, taking a cue from the regenerative abilities of salamanders, uses a powder made from pig tissue to trick the body into using stem cells to attract other cells—and eventually grow whole new body parts.

"Science fiction eventually becomes true, doesn't it?" says a doctor at the Brooke Army Medical Center. "If it is next to the skin, it will start making skin. If it's next to a tendon, it will start making a tendon, and so that's the hope, at least in this particular project, that we can grow a finger." (Read more amputees stories.)

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