Feeds

DARPA at phase 2 on human 'regeneration' tech

Zaphod Beeblebrox™ extra limbs for multitaskers?

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Famed US military mad-professor bureau DARPA has inked a second deal with Massachusetts researchers to develop ways of "regenerating" human body tissues cut, shot or blown off in combat. The new biotech therapies would employ the same methods used by newts in growing replacement limbs.

News of the award comes courtesy of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), which announced the $570,000 agreement between DARPA and WPI-spawned company CellThera yesterday. CellThera is expected to work with the university's bioengineering department in delivering Phase II of DARPA's "restorative injury repair" programme.

DARPA seems to be looking for full-on, science-fiction level regen therapies here. According to the military wild-science boffins:

The vision is to fully restore the function of complex tissue (muscle, nerves, skin, etc) after traumatic injury on the battlefield... with true “wound healing” by regeneration of fully differentiated, functional tissue.

The program will achieve its goals by... processes of morphogenesis leading to anatomic and functional restoration [which] will culminate in the restoration of a functional multi-tissue structure in a mammal.

Under Phase I, CellThera and WPI bioengineers "succeeded in reprogramming mouse and human skin cells to act more like stem cells, able to form the early structures needed to begin the process of re-growing lost tissues" - a process described by DARPA as "generating a blastema in an otherwise non-regenerating animal".

A blastema is the boffinry term for the clump of special progenitor cells which appears at injury sites in creatures naturally able to regenerate themselves, such as newts or salamanders. Another name, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, is "regeneration bud". When you cut off a salamander's leg, for instance, a blastema appears at the stump and then grows into a new leg with muscles, nerves etc all complete.

It seems then that the Massachusetts boffins have already produced basic regen buds, potentially capable of growing into new working body parts - at least for mice.

"We are very pleased to be moving into the next phase of this work," said Raymond Page, WPI biotech prof.

We might all wish the prof luck and look forward to the day when limbs, buttocks etc cruelly snatched away before their time by the violence of the enemy, drunk drivers or horrific household accidents can simply be regrown. Or indeed to the day when we might, like Zaphod Beeblebrox, choose to sprout an extra arm - perhaps for critical multitasking applications involving drinks or complicated game peripherals.

The only people genuinely likely to be upset by this prospect would seem to be the rival DARPA-funded boffins engaged in developing the rocketfuelled, steam-powered cybernetic arm. The spraycan wound-spackle guys might still be OK, as presumably severed limbs etc would still need to be stabilised while regrowth took place. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
So, just how do you say 'the mutt's nuts' in French?
Vital linguistic question interrupts LOHAN spaceplane mission
95 floors in 43 SECONDS: Hitachi's new ultra-high-speed lift
Guangzhou skyscraper denizens to hold on to hats
Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey
Science no match for religion, politics, business interests
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
STEALTHY NANOROBOTS dress up as viruses, prepare to sneak into YOUR BODY
Cloaking techniques nicked from viruses tackle roadblocks on way to medical frontier
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.