Quick blog today as my own research is getting very interesting. I revisited some older data yesterday and have found a lot of data that supports a current hypothesis, the exciting thing being that the data is from a completely different imaging technique and thus makes our results less likely to be the result of random chance or an artifact of the microscopy. I am excited anyway, and it is this excitement that makes research a lot of fun.
Several articles of interest today, all on related topics. Replacement of tissue once it has been damaged beyond the body's ability to repair is fascinating. Some animals can regenerate tissues almost indefinitely, such as the newts described in the first link. in this case it is the lens of the eye, not only can the lens regenerate completely, it is "younger" than the age of the newt (the newts lived up to 30 years old but the new lenses were indistinguishable from those found in 14 year old newts that has never regenerated a lens). the ability of amphibians to regenerate tissue is quite amazing and the research into how they do this is very important for the potential development of methods that will trigger human tissue regeneration from stem cells.
Another regeneration article discussed the growth of a tooth from mouse embryonic stem cells. These cells, already on the way to becoming teeth, were transplanted into a mouse underneath the membrane that surrounds the kidney. A molar developed and even had some of the ligaments that hold teeth in place, thus when the tooth was implanted into a jaw it was able to function as a native tooth and regenerate the necessary blood vessels etc. A further development is that this was replicated with adult stem cells and cells from wisdom teeth. This in particular is exciting. maybe dentures will eventually be phased out as we can start to grow replacement teeth! growing them on our kidneys may be an issue, however, so growing them in vitro (cell or organ culture) needs to be achieved first.
In the meantime, transplants are becoming ever-more sophisticated. The world's first double leg transplant has been achieved. It remains to be seen whether the legs will take or be rejected by the patient and how long it will take for the nerves to fuse. The skill of surgery involved is really remarkable.
Skeptical kinkster musing on whatever takes my fancy!