We've all seen the pictures, at least: soldiers and marines coming home with legs and arms gone. It's a long shot, but maybe this could help: "A newly created form of protein known as 'elastin' may one day be used to build replacement body parts," according to National Defense magazine.
"This technology would allow surgeons to 'build a person from the molecular level,' says Kenton Gregory, chief cardiologist at the Oregon Medical Laser Center, in Portland, Ore. [He's the guy who founded HemCon Inc., which makes a controversial bandage for the Army designed to stop bleeding in a hurry. -- ed.]The U.S. Army Combat Casualty Care program so far has funded $20 million worth of research work at the medical laser center...Elastin is being studied as a possible means to put injured soldiers back together, Gregory explains. After nearly a decade worth of research, his lab has found the human gene for elastin, he says. Elastin is a durable, stable protein that makes up human tissue. The thinking is that the body wont reject replacement parts that have the patients own DNA.Based on natural protein, we developed a whole series of tissue-repair parts for the stomach, esophagus, skin, arteries, Gregory says. We are developing cell therapy program to help regenerate tissue.