Could we grow prosthetic limbs?

  • 1 Replies

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


Offline thedoc

  • Forum Admin
  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • 513
    • View Profile
Could we grow prosthetic limbs?
« on: 05/10/2015 15:50:01 »
Paul asked the Naked Scientists:
   I am thrilled by research into controlling prosthetics with thought, but this all involves a lot of thought and figuring out algorithms etc. Would we get more bang for our bucks if we put that research into stem cell research? There are different problems. A prosthetic appendage won't necessarily be rejected by the wearer, although there may be some discomfort or blisters, etc. Also, does a person with an appendage get "phantom limb " thoughts, and how does that interfere with thought control of the appendage? prostheses are built to match the size of the person using the appendage, but if one were trying to grow an arm from stem cells, that takes time.
What is the youngest heart that can be inserted into an adult, and does the heart then grow to adult size within the adult or does it just maintain it's size. The ideal would be for it to coalesce. If it took my heart 12 years to reach roughly adult size and we have heart patients needing a heart transplant in the next year we have a problem. A couple of years ago I asked about fast growing a tree and normally growing a tree and wondering whether the result were more smaller cells or the same number of cells but elongated and therefore possibly weaker. Behind that I was trying to think about being able to speed up the growth of replacement hearts, kidneys, limbs, etc. One can live a number of years without a limb, but hearts and kidneys are different. If the same organ is used there are not rejection problems. What number of hearts and kidneys could be "reconditioned" and then re-inserted.? Sorry I am mixing organ replacement with limb replacement. I am wondering how to grow an arm in a petri dish,with it's bones, skin, muscles, fingernails, etc.
Sorry I am just thinking out loud. I should be googling all this and reading up about tissue culture, etc.
Oh to find some universal material that could be incorporated into a body and not be rejected.
What do you think?
« Last Edit: 05/10/2015 15:50:01 by _system »


Offline chris

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • 5425
  • The Naked Scientist
    • View Profile
    • The Naked Scientists
Re: Could we grow prosthetic limbs?
« Reply #1 on: 16/10/2015 19:01:54 »
It's not a limb, or a heart, but this discovery - the ability to grow a new kidney in a dish, from stem cells - is pretty ground-breaking:

I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception - Groucho Marx