Who can forget how our hearts dropped when we first found out about little Ireland Nugent. I will never forget the feeling I felt for her, and her father as I head the news of how he accidentally ran over his little two year old princess with his riding lawn mower. He was unaware if her being there when he put the mower in reverse. I know the first thing I did was give my little girl a big hug, and heck my little boy as well. I feel for this family and all they have been through.
This is unfortunately not the only family that has dealt with such pain. Many families have had accidents in cars where children have lost limbs. There are many other ways of losing limbs as well. War is a horrible thing. A man I deeply respect is a member of AVAST. No I do not mean avast! the virus program ether. My next door neighbor is part of the Amputee veterans of America Support Team. This is a group of vets that have done great things for veterans and families. Heck, they were color guard at the Republican Convention of 2012.
How would you like to be able to give these soles their full limbs back. Many animals do regenerate their missing limbs. Crabs, lizards, and even humans. Don’t believe me? Snap off the tail of a lizard. It will grow back. Crab Claws are so tasty, but it would be a horrible thing to snap off the crabs claw and send him back into the wild with out his claw right. It does grow back. We also have some of the same features. We currently can not grow back our arms or legs, this is true. But I swear I spend way to much time trimming my hair. I also know my wife complains about my nails growing. So, yes, we also have the ability to regenerate.
NYU has decided to shed some light on the subject.
“Everyone knows that fingernails keep growing, but no one really knows why,” says lead author Mayumi Ito, PhD, assistant professor of dermatology in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at NYU School of Medicine.
Using genetically engineered mice, they have studied the biochemical chain of events leading up to the repair of a fingertip amputation. team have discovered an important clue in this process: a population of self-renewing stem cells in the nail matrix, a part of the nail bed rich in nerve endings and blood vessels that stimulate nail growth. Moreover, the scientists have found that these stem cells depend upon a family of proteins known as the
“Wnt signaling network” — the same proteins that play a crucial role in hair and tissue regeneration — to regenerate bone in the fingertip.”When we blocked the Wnt-signaling pathway in mice with amputated fingertips, the nail and bone did not grow back as they normally would,” says Dr. Ito. Even more intriguing, the researchers found that they could manipulate the Wnt pathway to stimulate regeneration in bone and tissue just beyond the fingertip. “Amputations of this magnitude ordinarily do not grow back,” says Dr. Ito. These findings suggest that Wnt signaling is essential for fingertip regeneration, and point the way to therapies that could help people regenerate lost limbs. An estimated 1.7 million people in the U.S. live with amputations.
The next step, get down to the molecular mechanisms that control how the Wnt signaling pathway interacts with the nail and stem cells to influence the bone and nail growth. We may soon find a way to give our brave soldiers their arms and legs back. As a father, I could see being able to give my little child their limbs back after a horrific accident like the Nugents, being a great relief. Only time will tell. Good luck Dr Ito.