Scientist creating 'Frankenstein' creatures in the hope of one day regrowing human limbs

Humans may be able to regrow limbs in the near future

Humans may be able to regrow limbs in the near future

Thursday, December 29, 2016

In what sounds like the plot from a B-movie horror film, a US-based geneticist is creating 'frankenstein' worms and frogs in the hope of one day gaining the secret to regrowing human limbs.

Michael Levin at Tufts University is hopeful that his work will allow those who are missing limbs to regrow them, according to Popular Science

So far he has manipulated the way electricity flows through cells to manipulate creatures, creating a six-legged frog and a two-headed worm.

Levin's theoretical limb ­regeneration process would mean exposing raw nerves, bones, tendons, tissues and muscles and treating them with an electrical charge.

A sleeve would them be placed over the area, keeping it moist and protecting it from air. It would also contain drugs to manipulate the body’s ion channels.

This would trigger the action and direction of genes and begin the natural process of growing the limb.

However, the process would only be as fast as normal fetal growth - meaning that if you were growing an arm, it would take a decade to reach roughly the size of an 11-year-old's arm. 

If Levin's experiments on cold-blooded creatures go well, he says he could move on to humans in the next few years or decades.