UPCOMING TECHNOLOGY – In biology, regeneration is expressed as the ability to heal back from a physical damage. Think of it as the body’s self-repairing mechanism. A perfect form of regeneration will grow back lost body parts, bones and other organs to it’s original form and function. Sounds fictional, right?
All living beings can regenerate to varying limits. And we have no control or command over achieving this perfect regeneration process. To further establish the context, let us understand the types of animals by generalising them into two main categories. On one hand we have animals (for instance, a tape worm or a Mexican salamander) that possess perfect regeneration capabilities, and on the other hand we have animals that can regenerate to a limited extent. Humans and most other animals fall in the latter type.
Our body has some ability to heal it’s parts, organs and bones. Our hair and nails regrow. Our skin can recover from minor damages. Without any conscious effort, children under the age of 12 may regrow their sliced finger tips. A foetus inside of a human womb can “regrow” most of the damaged parts of it’s own body. So there should be a way to extend this regenerative capability of ours, while we age.
So let’s take a brief look at the ongoing researches and upcoming technologies that promise enhanced regeneration in humans.
Reversing physical injuries and damages
Severed fingers, bodies with burns, signs of ageing on skin, gastro-duodenal ulcers, coronary heart disease, facial scars, shortened life span due to cancer – All of these damages have been undone in numerous trials on humans by a technology invented by Dr. Rongxiang Xu. He has been honored with Golden Biatec 2013 International award for this remarkable research. I encourage you to learn more on this through the link below.
Regrowing lost limbs
Michael Levin has dedicated his life to the study of tissue regeneration in animals, and eventually enable humans to regenerate lost limbs. Among many other successful experiments back in the year 2005, he has successfully triggered regeneration in an elderly Tadpole to perfectly regrow it’s tail (an animal that loses it’s regenerative ability after the first seven days of it’s life). Michael believes animal bodies store information about it’s shape like a language, and such information may be found in the electrics singles that transmitted among the cells. So one of the major challenges that remain now is to decipher this language.
A painless and cost effective way to heal decayed teeth. No drills and fills required
The technique focuses on remineralising the defective areas in teeth. This is done by triggering the natural healing process. This technique may be out in the market as late as 2017.
Via [King’s College London]
Using low powered lasers to regenerate body parts
The idea is to persuade tissues to regenerate themselves, using a low powered laser. The tests have shown positive results for growing back an important component of teeth. Researchers have expressed the possibility of using this technique for regenerating body parts too.
Accelerated healing of physical injuries
A group of researchers have identified an important gene that triggers stem cell renewal. Learn more about stem cells at stemcells.nih.gov.
Am fascinated and curious on how cells work and really would like to work on this regeneration after I graduate in college