I decided to write up a page that would provide answers to questions that people commonly ask when reaching out to me.
Is it possible to Regrow lost Arms and Legs for Amputees?
No, or rather not yet. This is the Holy Grail. It is not possible right now under current science and technologies. However, scientists who specialize in this area agree that it is not a question of if but a question of when.
New innovative technologies are being developed all the time that this website discusses, helping to boost the field of regenerative medicine. More funding and research is now being put into stem cell research and human regeneration that will eventually benefit the patient. Such as New Treatment of Burns, Bone and Tissue Regeneration or Engineering, along with Stem Cell Therapies.
At the moment there is some limited treatment for stimulating the regrowth of lost fingertips providing the nail bed has not been lost, but this is not routine treatment as it belongs to specialists in regenerative medicine within the realm of clinical trials.
More advanced medical technologies are now becoming available with 3D printing and now companies can print a prosthetic limb. Allowing it to be more easily costumed designed for the amputee and cost less.
It can be styled with colors, patterns, and tattoos in a certain way so it looks less obvious. This means it can blend into what the person is wearing.
One company I have read, believe the technology will become advanced enough to print the patient’s own leg based on their stem cells and DNA. Considering that scientists have been able to print blood vessels back in 2016 then its only a matter of time before the printing of human body parts turns into a reality.
The following articles may be of interest in regards to the research of regrowth of lost limbs and digits.
Powerful New Initiative to Regrow Human Limbs by 2030
Advance Regenerative Medicine Regenerative Manufacturing Institute is Regenerating Human Limbs
The Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine
3D Printing of Human Organs with the use of Stem Cells
Human Cell Regeneration with REVOLUTIONARY New Nanochip Technology
When will Limb Regeneration Happen?
This is the million-dollar question. At the moment it is difficult to say as there is not enough data. Some experts in this field suggest within our lifetimes and others say perhaps by 2030. Certainly, we are going to see many exciting and powerful developments over the next 15 years.
I believe that Regenerative Medicine will start to explode in advancement at the beginning of the next decade (the 2020s).
However, if you want me to be really bold that I would say it could happen now. You may have noticed Robots with AI (Artificial Intelligence) is starting to become more important in our society with doing jobs that humans can do. They are now getting more advanced with having feelings and even you can have difficulty telling the difference from human and robot seeing them from a distance.
Now two scientists at Oxford in England have said that the technology to create Robots with a real human tissue scaffold on the outside is already possible.
If this is true then could the same be done for limbs for amputees or any other body part?
You may be interested in the following articles for further reading.
Are there any Clinical Trials?
While there are clinical trials in Regenerative Medicine, there is none at the moment to regrow a new limb. However, there are clinical trials involving research into Tissue Regeneration, Stem Cell Research and even Digit Regeneration along with new treatment of burns.
The McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine runs clinical trials in different areas of regenerative medicine. If you want to be considered for a clinical trial based on your own condition, you can content them.
I will update this page to include other institutions that run clinical trials in Regenerative Medicine.
Note this blog cannot advise you about a clinical trial or if you would qualify. Those kinds of decisions and your suitability is based on the scientists running the trials.
The scientist Dr. Stephen Badylak runs a laboratory leading research in the use of biological scaffolds containing extracellular matrix (ECM) to help in the development of functional tissues and organ reconstruction.
The following article will be of interest about some of their research in the use of ECM (from pig’s bladder) and digit regeneration research. The article discusses a man who lost his fingertip and used the ECM material that Badylak’s team developed, to grow it back.
Are Embryonic Stem Cells Used?
From what I am aware all institutions in North America and Europe, indeed the western world do not use Embryonic Stem Cells but instead are derived from adult stem cells taken from the patient or another consenting adult.
Progenitor cells and adult stem cells is an integrated part of standard wound healing, along with the development of new tissues.
The new strategies being developed by scientists in regenerative medicine are aiming to enhance on tissue restoration and wound repair. A number of strategies being produced are allowing the improvement of the function of these adult stem cells.
The patient’s own cells are used along with special drugs or used in parallel with special bio-materials that operate as scaffolds for the development of new tissues.
Can you explain what Tissue Scaffolds are?
What is known as Tissue Scaffolds are classically considered to be the healing implants of the future? These are small, tissue-like implants that are bio-degradable inside the body. They are bio-materials that are specially designed that help the cells in the area of injury to aid the body in growing new tissues.
This means that when the lost or damaged tissue have successfully been replaced with new tissues, the scaffold will have completely disappeared and absorbed by the body.
What is left is the new tissue what has been grown. Examples of this would be lost or damaged parts of ligaments, nerves, blood vessels, bones along with the skin.
As mentioned above, I will be updating this page with additional information and questions that get commonly asked. If you have a question that is not included above, feel free to comment below and I will look into your question and respond as soon as possible.