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ASU research team one step closer to limb regeneration

PHOENIX — Arizona State University researchers are one step closer to learning how to grow human limbs.

Just like lizards, newborns have the ability to regenerate; however, humans lose that ability shortly after birth.

Professor Kenro Kusumi and his research team have made a breakthrough discovery in the field of regeneration by studying the genetic make-up of lizards.

“We’ve basically got the sense of how they regenerate, so that gives us a chance to see what might be the (genetic) recipe we need to get our cells to be ready to regenerate,” Kusumi said.

Kusumi said if the research team is able to solve nature’s mystery of regeneration, it will have major medical implications.

“A lot of times we learn a lot from nature,” he said. “We kind of figure out how things are naturally happening and then sort of reverse engineer that to see how we can medically intervene.”

The team’s findings could eventually help develop treatments for spinal cord injuries, birth defects and arthritis.