The scientists from Texas A&M University have found a way of stimulating growth in amputated toes in mice by using just two proteins. While bone growth has been achieved before, this new research indicated joint growth is a crucial step towards being able to bring back lost limbs someday. Being successful earlier in regenerating bone in mice using the BMP2 protein, the scientists have mixed it with another protein, BMP9, to attain joint growth as well. When this combination of proteins was used on mice with amputated toes, over sixty percent of the stump ones formed a layer of cartilage within three days. “These studies provide evidence that treatment of growth factors can be used to engineer a regeneration response from a non-regenerating amputation wound”, stated the researchers in
their paper. The researchers conclude saying, “these findings further provide support for the view that cells of a non-regenerative mammalian amputation would retain the positional information necessary to rebuild structures removed by amputation.” The study has shown that applying BMP2 first and then applying BMP9 a week later led to the growth of more complete joint structures, even with some connections to the bone. The research might also help in treatments for joint degenerative disorders such as osteoarthritis- naturally replacing rather than transplanting cartilage.
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