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Tissue Regeneration

September 9, 2010

Newts have inspired a new technique for regenerating mammalian tissue.


Regenerating organs. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Our livers can regenerate, but it would be great if other tissues could too. Now, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine are a step closer to that: they’ve regenerated healthy, functional mouse muscle cells in the lab. The muscle cells reproduced themselves when two tumor-suppressing proteins were temporarily blocked. Biologist Helen Blau says the technique could be a simpler alternative to using all-purpose stem cells.

HELEN BLAU (Stanford University School of Medicine):
Because the cells know their identity. And, you get around the problem of trying to direct the cell down a pathway, when we don’t know all the regulatory networks involved.

Of course, those tumor-suppressing proteins have a job to do, so any therapy in humans would have to be as brief and localized as possible. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.