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Man regrows a finger using 'pixie dust'

vhx

Golden Member
Jul 19, 2006
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7354458.stm

In every town in every part of this sprawling country you can find a faceless sprawling strip mall in which to do the shopping.

Rarely though would you expect to find a medical miracle working behind the counter of the mall's hobby shop.

That however is what Lee Spievak considers himself to be.

"I put my finger in," Mr Spievak says, pointing towards the propeller of a model aeroplane, "and that's when I sliced my finger off."

It took the end right off, down to the bone, about half an inch.

"We don't know where the piece went."

The photos of his severed finger tip are pretty graphic. You can understand why doctors said he'd lost it for good.

Today though, you wouldn't know it. Mr Spievak, who is 69 years old, shows off his finger, and it's all there, tissue, nerves, nail, skin, even his finger print.

'Pixie dust'

How? Well that's the truly remarkable part. It wasn't a transplant. Mr Spievak re-grew his finger tip. He used a powder - or pixie dust as he sometimes refers to it while telling his story.

Mr Speivak's brother Alan - who was working in the field of regenerative medicine - sent him the powder.

For ten days Mr Spievak put a little on his finger.

"The second time I put it on I already could see growth. Each day it was up further. Finally it closed up and was a finger.

"It took about four weeks before it was sealed."


Now he says he has "complete feeling, complete movement."

The "pixie dust" comes from the University of Pittsburgh, though in the lab Dr Stephen Badylak prefers to call it extra cellular matrix.
Don't know what to think. Was going to call bull on it, but saw videos on the progress of it growing, as well as the process they are using. It's also on the BBC, so they would have to have some proof and documentation for all of this? Pretty remarkable if it's true.

I wonder how the big pharma's and prosthetic companies will take this since they might be out of a business in this area.
 

ericlp

Diamond Member
Dec 24, 2000
6,082
188
106
Maybe they can give bush a bucket of the stuff so that he might be able to grow a brain??????


Ok, really, tho, this is super cool! Will be interesting to see if they can grow back limbs .... :)


 

NoStateofMind

Diamond Member
Oct 14, 2005
9,711
6
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If this is true, this could change everything.

Clinical trial

They hope soon to start a clinical trial in Buenos Aires on a woman who has cancer of the oesophagus.

The normal procedure in such cases is often deadly. Doctors remove the cancerous portion and try to stretch the stomach lining up to meet the shortened oesophagus.

In the trial they will place the extra cellular matrix inside the body from where the portion of oesophagus has been removed, and hope to stimulate the cells around it to re-grow the missing portion.

So could limbs be re-grown? Dr Badylak is cautious, but believes the technology is potentially revolutionary.

"I think that within ten years that we will have strategies that will re-grow the bones, and promote the growth of functional tissue around those bones. And that is a major step towards eventually doing the entire limb."

That kind of talk has got the US military interested.

They are just about to start trials to re-grow parts of the fingers of injured soldiers.
Can you imagine where this could end up? Cryogenics is much more possible than previously thought. They would still have to either change to a solution type or improve their thawing process (as I understand its the major obstacle). Thats long term of course but this revolutionary type of procedure would change medicine practices forever.

Edit: They have another article from today.


Was the new finger a 'natural' miracle?


Edit #2: The more I think about it the more earthshaking this revolutionary process is. The doctor states that they may not be able to regrow a whole limb but he probably could create a bone (think titanium reinforced bones or completely metal, Terminator anyone?) and then use the regeneration process to cover it with tissue. You would never even know a superhuman was next to you :p
 

SlickSnake

Diamond Member
May 29, 2007
5,237
2
0
Move over Enzyte and Extenze! Magic pixie dust is here!

Maybe I can grow 2 or 3 wangs with this stuff!

Now, I just need to chop off my little toe, and get them to send me this stuff for a "clinical trial".

Let's see, would pruning shears or a cigar snipper work better? :confused:

What an idiot. He sticks his finger in the propeller of the model plane, and chops it off. :thumbsdown:

I would hate to see what he does if he saw a windmill. No, actually I would love to see that. :thumbsup:
 

magomago

Lifer
Sep 28, 2002
10,973
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There is a lot of hype here guys. First of all - this isn't a hoax...this is simply years of research by countless institutions across the US and world, and they are finally getting it. You can go to http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/ and look up the numerous articles on regeneration of almost any kind of tissue. Some tissues have been developed far more than others (Skin tissue is probably one of the furthest along because its two dimensional - every other organ is much more complex due to the need to grow and maintain a 3d shape), but all still have kinks to knock out and in some cases they are still trying to understand the basic mechanisms of what is going on. A lot of what we can grow still leaves questions to be asked about the actual mechanism that goes on. The stuff that they are doing in research is further along of what we see materialize in companies (so far)
By the way this "pixie dust" is most likely VERY exclusive what they are trying to regenerate. It isn't a "one size fits all" because there are so many different signals that they are trying to promote and suppress respectively.
Here is a good " intro" article about what has and hasn't been done - its older for sure (2002) but the information is still very very relevant
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11834815
Its cool stuff really...but just like that article points out - the real craze about TE isn't making issues as much as developing tissues complex enough that we can start to test drugs on them and follow pathology of diseases. Imagine skipping a lot of animal testing and directly making sure its compatible with humans without testing a single human
 

LittleNemoNES

Diamond Member
Oct 7, 2005
4,142
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Imagine skipping a lot of animal testing and directly making sure its compatible with humans without testing a single human
Sadly, some people will probably push to be able to test on a live brain in a jar to do testing :shocked:
 

fallout man

Golden Member
Nov 20, 2007
1,787
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Originally posted by: gersson
Imagine skipping a lot of animal testing and directly making sure its compatible with humans without testing a single human
Sadly, some people will probably push to be able to test on a live brain in a jar to do testing :shocked:
That would never work for anything practical.



I haven't read up on the papers, but it seems that this "pixie dust" stuff basically overwhelms the signaling from damaged tissue which would induce scarring.

If you put a wound into an environment where you tell it that "baby, it's all OK... just a flesh-wound," the tissue around the wound will not form the protective scar tissue like it should. Instead, you get regeneration of tissue back to the way it was originally.

This is kind of like comparing a cut that doesn't leave a scar, and a gash that does.

Under normal circumstances, your body wants to close the wound ASAP, which means cheap, non-differentiated scar tissue formation. The pixie dust stuff just tells the area around the wound that it's a "minor paper cut," and barring major infection, your body will work slower to properly replace the wounded tissues in detail, over a longer period of time.

The prospects are cool, but keep in mind that the guys just "healed" the tip of his finger. This is far off from growing limbs and organs in a jar. I think that if the guy actually has full sensitivity and acuity in that regrown skin, that's a huge, but subtle breakthrough.
 

imported_Baloo

Golden Member
Feb 2, 2006
1,782
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Well, he did not lose much of the finger. Might just has well have grown back without applying "pixie dust."
 

KurskKnyaz

Senior member
Dec 1, 2003
871
1
81
I've read about this before. Basically we should have the genes to regenerate organs that were left behind by our reptilian ancestors. Evolution however preferred scar tissue for some reason.
 

robphelan

Diamond Member
Aug 28, 2003
4,082
16
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alot of the research and application is being done here in SA at BAMC - Brooke Army Med Center. It's the leading burn unit in the country and a leader in biomed research.
 

feralkid

Lifer
Jan 28, 2002
15,445
3,005
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Originally posted by: PC Surgeon


Can you imagine where this could end up? Cryogenics is much more possible than previously thought. They would still have to either change to a solution type or improve their thawing process (as I understand its the major obstacle).




Dude, no one in the future is going to thaw out anyone from the 21st century, once they find out what a bunch of assholes we were.

 

eits

Lifer
Jun 4, 2005
25,206
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www.integratedssr.com
Originally posted by: feralkid
Originally posted by: PC Surgeon


Can you imagine where this could end up? Cryogenics is much more possible than previously thought. They would still have to either change to a solution type or improve their thawing process (as I understand its the major obstacle).




Dude, no one in the future is going to thaw out anyone from the 21st century, once they find out what a bunch of assholes we were.
futurama!
 

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