Imagine soldiers returning from battle with missing limbs, burned skin, and damaged organs from a confrontation. Then imagine them days later completely regenerated, healed with their own tissue. According to the Pentagon, this day is not far off.
The Pentagon has joined forces with universities and hospitals in a $250-million research institute to fund an initiative to regenerate soldiers’ torn bodies. Lt. General Eric Schoomaker, the army surgeon general said: “We’ll use the soldier’s own stem cells to repair nerve damage, to regrow muscles and tendons, to repair burn wounds, and to help them heal without scarring.” To see how the plan would work, read more.
The Pentagon is set to provide $85 million and another $100 million will come from grants through the National Institutes of Health. The big project stands to be "the largest US government-funded research consortium in the field of regenerative medicine," said Schoomaker.
If all goes according to plan, at some point in the future, adult stem cells will be harvested before a soldier goes into battle and then, should a soldier return with permanent wounds, those cells would then be used to regrow new tissue and limbs within days of the injury. Because the plan intends to use the adult's own stem cells it circumvents some of the administration's current stem cell restrictions.
Are you glad to see progress being made on this front? Do you think the fact that the research will use adult stem cells addresses ethical concerns or do you wish stem cell research could go further? Is the military the perfect research ground for this kind of work?