(NaturalNews) An Ohio man completely regenerated a severed finger in only four weeks by applying a powder developed by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh.
Sixty-nine-year-old Lee Spievak lost a half inch of his finger, down to the bone, to the propeller of a model airplane.
"I put my finger in, and that's when I sliced my finger off," Spievak said, "We don't know where the piece went."
Doctors told Spievak that the loss was permanent. But then his brother, a researcher in regenerative medicine, sent him a powder and told him to apply it to the tip of his wound.
"The second time I put it on I already could see growth," Spievak said. "Each day it was up further. Finally it closed up and was a finger. It took about four weeks before it was sealed."
The finger appears to have grown back completely, including the nerves, nail and even fingerprint. Spievak says that he has "complete feeling [and] movement."
The dust Spievak used was developed by Stephen Badylak and colleagues, who produce it by scraping cells out of the lining of a pig's bladder, then immersing the rest of the bladder tissue in acid. The last remnants of cells are then cleaned out, and the processed bladder is dried into a powder. According to Badylak, this powder signals cells to regrow tissue, rather than scarring as they normally would.
"There are all sorts of signals in the body," Badylak said. "We have got signals that are good for forming scar, and others that are good for regenerating tissues. One way to think about these matrices is that we have taken out many of the stimuli for scar tissue formation and left those signals that were always there anyway for constructive remodeling."
Researchers, including some from the U.S. military, hope that the treatment can eventually proceed to the point of treating major burns or regrowing entire limbs. New clinical human trials on the technique are set to begin soon.