Scientists Find Secret of Regeneration

Boosting cancer risk might allow humans to regrow limbs
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2010 1:25 PM CDT
Scientists may have found a way to eventually allow people to regenerate limbs.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Researchers think they’ve found a trick that could allow humans to someday regrow limbs or heart tissue in much the same way some lizards do. The scientists say humans gave up much of their regenerative power as part of an evolutionary trade-off: Our genes suppress cell growth, and with it our risk of cancer. Now, scientists hope to temporarily deactivate those genes, allowing the body to repair itself, the New York Times reports.

So far, scientists have tested the theory only on mice, but the early results are promising. “What I like is that it’s built on what’s happening in nature,” said one of the lead researchers. They acknowledge that messing with tumor suppression could be dangerous, but say the treatment period should be short enough to alleviate some risks.

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