You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day

Thanks to research on flatworms, you may someday regrow that lost limb.


(Planarian flatworm adult stem cells known as neoblasts can be clustered)

In the June 14, 2018, issue of the journal Cell, researchers at Stowers Institute for Medical Research published a landmark study whose findings have important implications for advancing the study of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, according to the researchers.*

Over a century ago, scientists traced regenerative powers in a flatworm known as planaria to a special population of planaria adult stem cells called neoblasts (a type of adult pluripotent stem cell — meaning a cell that can transform into any type of cell). Scientists believe these neoblasts hold the secret to regeneration. But until recently, scientists lacked the tools necessary to identify exactly which of the individual types of neoblasts were actually capable of regeneration...

“We have enriched for a pluripotent stem cell population, which opens the door to a number of experiments that were not possible before,” says senior author Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado, Ph.D. “The fact that the marker we discovered is expressed not only in planarians but also in humans suggests that there are some conserved mechanisms that we can exploit.

(Via KurzweilAI)

My favorite early reference to the idea that some special technique could regrow lost limbs is the Atlotl/Gibiril Regimen from The Godmakers by renowned sf author Frank Herbert.

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