Though this piece of news is not yet a cause for celebration but it is one step closer to giving amputees hope of regaining their past life. To be clear, amputees are capable of doing whatever they set their sights on just as much as people with complete limbs but if they were given a chance to have their limbs grow back, then they probably wouldn’t hesitate to try it.
Scientists have found that two proteins responsible for bone growth and joint formation can help regenerate amputated limbs. They tested it out on mice whose toes had been amputated and after three days of applying the protein, the mice recovered 60% of their lost limbs from the stump bones.
The result was more effective when the team treated the wounds first with BMP2 and then BMP9 a week later. Not only did the bones regrew, they also formed more complete joint structures with part of the new bones attached to them. Although the method does not yet produce a full toe.
“Our study is transformational,” says Muneoka. He suggests this experiment proves that even though mammals can’t regenerate body parts, we have cells that know how to and what to grow. “They can do it, they just don’t do it. So, we have to figure out what’s constraining them,” he says.
(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)