AFIRM (Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine) has made several advances in the past several years. Notably, they took a ‘pixie dust’ manufactured out of pig bladders to regrow the fingertips of two patients. The dust signals growth factors in scar tissue, causing small limbs, such as fingertips, to grow back fully (nail included).
Other regenerative research includes work by Anthony Atala, a Wake Forest University tissue engineer, who has developed an ink-jet printer capable of manufacturing entire organs one cell layer at a time. While he has managed to print an entire rat heart, applications in skin regeneration look extremely promising in human patients. Also, mobile versions of the printer could regrow critical organs in combat zones.
AFIRM has developed a spray that would serve same solution, regrowing burned and scarred skin. The spray utilizes a patient’s own keratinocytes, immature skin cells. Trials on 16 patients have been extremely promising, showing results comparable to more complicated (yet effective) skin grafting procedures.
Soon enough, these military medical technologies will make their way into civilian medicine, making us into invincible super soldiers capable of world domination. Happy Friday!