Scientists have created "miracle mice" that can regenerate amputated limbs or damaged vital organs, making them able to recover from injuries that would kill or permanently disable normal animals. The experimental animals are unique among mammals in their ability to regrow their heart, toes, joints and tail. And when cells from the test mouse are injected into ordinary mice, they too acquire the ability to regenerate, the US-based researchers say. Their discoveries raise the prospect that humans could one day be given the ability to regenerate lost or damaged organs, opening up a new era in medicine. Details of the research will be presented next week at a scientific conference on ageing titled Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence, at Cambridge University in Britain. The research leader, Ellen Heber-Katz, professor of immunology at the Wistar Institute, a US biomedical research centre, said the ability of the mice at her laboratory to regenerate organs appeared to be controlled by about a dozen genes. Professor Heber-Katz says she is still researching the genes' exact functions, but it seems almost certain humans have comparable genes. "We have experimented with amputating or damaging several different organs, such as the heart, toes, tail and ears, and just watched them regrow," she said. "It is quite remarkable. The only organ that did not grow back was the brain. "When we injected fetal liver cells taken from those animals into ordinary mice, they too gained the power of regeneration.It's A Miracle - Mice Regrow Hearts, The World Health Network - Anti-Aging and Longevity
This could mean we are approaching the ritual-slaughter of the final lab mouse. Perhaps the study of medicine can be entirely completed this century. Think about it for a few 100 years or so.