Israeli scientists say humans regrowing body parts might be possible

Humans, unlike some animals, have a limited ability to regrow missing body parts. However, pioneering research at Technion University could change this.

Article published at www.jpost.com on July 8, 2021.

Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering at Technion University. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering at Technion University. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Technion University researchers are tackling one of the most pressing medical issues: loss of tissue. 

Prof. Shulamit Levenberg and her team in the Biomedical Engineering Department have pioneered research that could make it easier for humans to cultivate tissue, Technion UK stated in a press release on Monday. 

Levenberg said she is currently working on autografting to make this a reality, which is the procedure of moving tissue from one part of the body to another. However, new pioneering research from the Technion might make this process a lot easier.  

This is just one of many new innovations that are coming out of the Technion, as the school has been considered the leading institution for Israeli innovation. 

Long-term implications of Levenberg’s could lead to allowing patients to receive bone and tissue matter in a vat, rather than needing to remove it from another part of their body.

Alan Aziz, CEO of Technion UK, said that the process of humans growing their own body-part replacements in a lab sounds like science fiction, but may soon become a reality.

“It may soon become reality thanks to pioneering research at the Technion – and that’s the tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth!” he said.

Just last month, the Technion came out with another groundbreaking innovation that can quickly diagnose tuberculosis. 

Tissue autografting turns pulp fiction into pulp reality

One of the most challenging medical conditions is serious loss of tissue. Unlike certain animals, humans have only a limited capacity for regrowing missing body parts, which is how the science of auto-grafting has been developed. Moving tissue from one part of the body to another is still complicated though – but pioneering research from Israel may be about to make it easier.

Article published at www.labnews.co.uk on July 6, 2021.

Tissue autografting turns pulp fiction into pulp reality

Autografting revolves around replacing a missing piece of the body with another. For example, if there has been a significant loss of bone in a hip or knee which means that section of the skeleton can no longer repair itself, a piece of rib could be grafted in instead. The key to success is the supporting infrastructure of soft tissue and blood vessels that enables the bone to heal. This material therefore also needs to be transplanted from one area of the body to the other.

This is the issue that Professor Shulamit Levenberg is taking on. Levenberg works in the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering at the Technion – the Israel Institute of Technology. Along with her colleagues, she is part of a lab that is looking to grow this specialised tissue in vats so that it can be used for auto-grafting. This lab has now successfully built soft tissue with blood vessels from dental pulp, which is the material inside teeth. The stem cells from the dental pulp help blood vessels to form, supporting tissue growth and healing.

This new procedure has been trialled in repairing a bone defect in rats, inserting specially cultivated tissue rather than the traditional method of using existing tissue from another part of the body. This new tissue is deemed to have been more effective in enabling the surgery to heal, whilst also not needing to create another wound in order to extract material to be transplanted, as is usually the case.

In the future, this research could allow patients to receive bespoke bone and tissue matter created in vats, rather than needing to remove it from another part of their body. Where this to be case, it would represent another significant contribution to medical science by the Technion. Since 1912, the academic institution has been at the forefront of spearheading Israel’s scientific endeavours. Israel today is the country with the highest percentage of scientists and engineers – and the majority of them studied at the Technion, home to three of Israel’s five science Nobel Laureates.