Lee Spievack sliced a half inch off of his right middle finger after he accidentally stuck his finger through the rotating propeller of a hobby R/C airplane. Luckily, Lee had a brother, Alan, who was a medical researcher. Alan was able to give his brother a “magical” powder, which he instructed Lee to sprinkle onto the damaged finger. Miraculously, Lee’s finger grew back: flesh, blood, vessels, and nail.
What exactly was the powder?
[The] powder is a substance made from pig bladders called extracellular matrix. It is a mix of protein and connective tissue surgeons often use to repair tendons and it holds some of the secrets behind the emerging new science of regenerative medicine.
Basically, the extracellular matrix stimulated the regrowth of tissue, signaling the adult stem cells into what to do, where to go, and how they need to differentiate. Theoretically, the same process can be used to grow entire limbs, which is currently being investigated by the military.
Via: CBS News