Man’s Severed Finger Grows Back Thanks To A Pig’s Tissue

Impossible but true! 
Think only sponges, starfishes and lizards regenerate? Think again because humans do to (not to mention the major help of a pig’s bladder).

Man's Severed Finger Grows Back Thanks To A Pig's TissueMan's Severed Finger Grows Back Thanks To A Pig's Tissue

Jockey Paul Halpern was feeding a horse when the animal managed to bite off one of his fingers.

One of the guys that worked with me reached his hand in the horse’s mouth, took the fingertip out, and I jumped in the car, grabbed the rest of my finger wondering what we should do,” said Halpern.

He took the severed fingertip to the hospital, but the staff told him it was too late to re-attach it. So, Halpern sought out Dr. Eugenio Rodriguez of the Deerfield Beach Outpatient Surgical Center, who he had heard used a revolutionary procedure called xenograft implantation.

And it’s the humble pig that scientists turned to for regenerative material. The idea behind using pigs for reforming limbs and organs in people comes from that pigs’ heart valves have been used for years in humans with a minimal chance of their body rejecting the foreign matter. A pig’s bladders are a waste material when pigs are slaughtered, so it’s cheap and easily available.

Man's Severed Finger Grows Back Thanks To A Pig's TissueScraping away layers of tissue reveals the extracellular matrix, which is like a scaffold in all animals, including humans.

The extracellular matrix is the glue that holds cells together in every tissue and organ of your body. And it gives instructions to the cells, and the cells, in turn, give instructions to the matrix,” explains Badylak.

The tissue is then cleaned and dried, to be formed into strips or ground into powder, which can then be used as medicinal powder for an injured person.

Man's Severed Finger Grows Back Thanks To A Pig's Tissue

Instead of the body thinking ‘Injury? Alright, let’s form a scar,’ the body says ‘Alright, injury? Let’s rebuild’. And the matrix helps to jumpstart it in the ‘Let’s rebuild’ pathway, ” explains Badylak.

Moving on, Halpern was sent with a vial of the powdered material from the same pig bladder tissue, which he sprinkled onto the nub of his missing finger for two months. He was surprised when his missing finger completely regrew with no defects or discoloration and with a whole fingernail attached.

Man's Severed Finger Grows Back Thanks To A Pig's TissueAccording to Medical Daily, pig bladder is used because its “protein scaffold” is “nearly identical to that of human tissue”.

It stimulates your body to attract your stem cells and then the stem cells start producing the tissue that is missing. Weeks later, the finger’s cells, bone, soft tissue, and nail grew into the mold.

 

 

via Science Channel

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