May I be first to place an order for a titanium skellington?
Scientists have developed a way to make bones and teeth using an inkjet printer. The printed bones are doing well in rats and rabbits and the engineering team at the Washington State University predict that their bony print-outs could be in mainstream use in human medicine in as little as 10 years. The engineering team led by …
I imagine the technical challenge of growing the meat/bone is the easy part. The problem even with reattaching original limbs is connecting the nerves more than anything, they are tricky buggers.
I also wonder how much variation there would be between a regrown limb and the original - a blood vessel/nerve cluster being half a centimetre to the left/right seems like it would be a problem.
Reattachment already happens with severed fingers and such, so I suppose the nerve-reattachment thing can be done even if it costs a lot of work to do. If you need to regrow apart I imagine that you'll have to figure out where to start, provide a matrix of sorts, which might include vessel and bundle endpoints, maybe. You'd have to provide some sort of blood flow anyway. The thing I vaguely recall reading about, though, was some powder out of heavily modified pig cells that inhibited forming of scar tissue so that instead normal tissue resulted. The article said something about an american veteran missing a finger or something and with a bit of powder on the wound every day the finger was growing back in place. Very close to pixie dust, that.
How this'd work exactly is something for the medicos to work out, which I'm not. Just speculating, seeing they've apparently found another piece of the puzzle. They'll figure out something workable or not, as the case may be. I just would love to see this happening in my lifetime.
Good question. It is controlled in normal bone repair but quite how ...
Even more astonishingly normal bone is constantly remodelled by osteoclast cells that attach to the bone, dissolve away the mineral part, enzymatically degrade the protein matrix and then the 'hole' is refilled with fresh protein by osteoblast cells . The protein matrix acts as a scaffold for calcium ions in the blood to deposit and remineralize the bone.
The process may stop naturally as all the protein is covered calcium but I'm not sure about that.
A few people have already managed to regrow things like amputated fingers without any medical technology intervention (much to the consternation of everyone involved). A lot more people have managed to regrow chunks of meat without any obvious scarring - again the docs have no real explanation about how it's possible/what triggers it.
The mechanisms are poorly understood but there's a lot of hope that the genes which control this kind of thing are merely switched off in mammals, instead of missing entirely. They do seem to be active up until a few days after birth.
This kind of skeleton is likely to be most useful in geriatric medicine (osetoporosis is a nasty thing to have) but I'll be more impressed when they can replace/regrow worn out cartilige instead of fitting an artificial joint - those involve so much bone damage that it can usually only be done once and the things only have around 10-20 year life span.
What about graphene doping?......
lighter but much stronger skeleton with the potential to genetically predispose someone to larger / stronger muscle mass allowing better strength, speed, agility etc, perhaps even better longevity....though might require some legislative changes......I could see some people wanting to off themselves after a few hundred years of life, others might choose to live forever.....global population would really explode then though.....hmmmmm
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