Medicine's cutting edge: re-growing organs

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Tue, 2008-03-25 13:19 by Hans-Georg

The Future Is Here: Regenerative Powder, Ink Jet Heart Cells And Custom-Made Body Parts
March 23, 2008

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Lee Spievack sliced off a half-inch of this finger—but with the help of doctors and a special medical powder, he grew it back. (CBS)

Regenerated Body Parts

Scientists are calling regenerative medicine the "Holy Grail" of stem-cell research. Wyatt Andrews reports on how tissue re-growth could make invasive surgeries a thing of the past.

Video: Regenerated Body Parts (4:08)
Video: Powder Mends Severed Finger (2:40)
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(CBS) Imagine re-growing a severed fingertip, or creating an organ in the lab that can be transplanted into a patient without risk of rejection. It sounds like science fiction, but it's not. It's the burgeoning field of regenerative medicine, in which scientists are learning to harness the body's own power to regenerate itself, with astonishing results. Correspondent Wyatt Andrews brings you to the scientific frontier.
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Three years ago, Lee Spievack sliced off the tip of his finger in the propeller of a hobby shop airplane.

What happened next, Andrews reports, propelled him into the future of medicine. Spievack's brother, Alan, a medical research scientist, sent him a special powder and told him to sprinkle it on the wound.

"I powdered it on until it was covered," Spievack recalled.

To his astonishment, every bit of his fingertip grew back.

"Your finger grew back," Andrews asked Spievack, "flesh, blood, vessels and nail?"

"Four weeks," he answered.

Andrews spoke to Dr. Steven Badylak of the University of Pittsburgh's McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine and asked …

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