DARPA's Restorative Injury Repair Dream

According to a new solicitation by DARPA, adult stem cells are seen as the regenerative regimen of choice. They'd like to see a device that can repair skin - as well as nerves and bones.

The Restorative Injury Repair program seeks to fully restore human tissues after traumatic injury; penetrating wounds, chemical and thermal burns, musculoskeletal injuries should have a faster solution than normal medical treatment.

The program will achieve its goals by developing a comprehensive understanding of the wound environment, including cellular elements, matrix, inflammatory mediators, growth factors, nutrients, substrate utilization, biofilms, and ultimately processes of morphogenesis leading to anatomic and functional restoration.

SF fans have seen this dream many times before; remember the autodoc from Larry Niven's Ringworld? And the art-derm from Philip K. Dick's 1960 novel Dr. Futurity.

Maybe even closer, Clifford Simak wrote about an alien technology called gobathian in his classic 1961 novel Time is the Simplest Thing:

The doctor reached the door. He stooped with his stethoscope placed against the mummy, then stepped back from the bed...

"Gobathian? That was what you used? That was why he was all wrapped up?"

"He was broken," said the doctor. "Like a toy someone had thrown on the floor and stepped on. What you do you know about gobathian?" he asked.

"I've heard of it," said Blaine.

"An alien drug," the doctor said. "Used by an insect race. A warring insect race. And it's done miracles. It can patch up a smashed and broken body. It can repair bones and organs. It can grow new tissue."

From DARPA Restorative Injury Repair via Wired via our friends at Frolix_8.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/4/2009)

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