Salamander Study Focuses on Re-Growth of Injured Limbs

Someday, science might help humans do the same, researchers say

THURSDAY, June 8, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Focusing on salamanders, a U.S. team of scientists will probe new ways of restoring human tissues that have been damaged or lost to injury.

After injury, salamanders form "blastemas" -- masses of cells that appear at the site of damaged tissue to re-grow lost tissues, limbs or digits. So far, salamanders are thought to be the only creatures with this ability.

The new study will seek to re-create that process in mice.

The research team will be led by Ken Muneoka, professor of cell and molecular biology at Tulane University in New Orleans. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding the study with a one-year grant of almost $3.9 million.

By studying this process in salamanders and trying to replicate it in mice, the scientists hope to eventually translate their developments into a way to regenerate tissue in humans.

More information

Head to the DARPA home page for more information on their research projects.

SOURCES: Tulane University Health Sciences Center, news release, May 30, 2006
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