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Regenerative medicine: is the grow-your-own organ era just around the corner?

news editor10 June 2013

pencil-iconWritten by Emily Burns, who attended a lecture by Professor Martin Birchall (UCL Ear Institute) at the Cheltenham Science Festival, entitled ‘Regenerative Medicine: Where will we be in 50 years?’

Mouse heart showing position of coronary arteries

Mouse heart showing position of coronary arteries.

What happens if a newt’s leg is cut off? Or a gecko’s tail auto-amputated?

The cells simply multiply to grow back into exactly what was missing. If a flatworm were cut in two, the two halves would both become new flatworms.

Unfortunately for humans, this incredible ability to self-regenerate was lost several branches ago on the evolutionary tree. As such, we definitely don’t have the ability to grow a new leg, or a new heart.

We have to rely on skin grafts and organ transplants, with common risks of rejection, infection and multiple complications. However, according to Professor Mark Birchall and Dr Felicity Mehendale, our regenerative future is just around the corner.

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Innovations in Cardiovascular Science: ‘The more I learn, the more I learn how little I know’

news editor8 May 2013

Front cover photo

pencil-iconWritten by Dr. Sherbano Ali Khan (UCL Institute of Cardiovascular Science MSc student)

Despite significant medical and therapeutic advances in cardiology in recent years, cardiovascular disease remains the biggest killer in the UK and a major cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide.

On Monday 22 April 2013 the UCL Cardiometabolic Science Domain hosted the Innovations in Cardiovascular Science Symposium with the aim of encouraging new interdisciplinary links and collaborations to help tackle this pressing global health issue.

The symposium (which focused on hypertension, heart failure and therapeutic innovation) brought together more than 150 doctors, surgeons and scientists to showcase and discuss some of the cutting-edge research that is currently taking place across UCL, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and UCL’s partner hospitals.

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