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January 5, 2011

Re“evolutionary” Regenerative Medicine

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California (Dr Blau); and Department of Surgery, University of California, San Francisco (Dr Pomerantz).

JAMA. 2011;305(1):87-88. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1938

The potential to regenerate damaged limbs and hearts seems the subject of science fiction, but newts and zebrafish do it all the time. What can scientists learn from these simple creatures? Why have mammals not retained this remarkably useful property in the course of evolution? Can an evolutionary perspective on the mechanisms used by “lowly” organisms inform the approach to human tissue regeneration? Could this lead to the generation of abundant patient-specific differentiated cells for cell therapy, for elucidating disease mechanisms, for therapeutic drug screening? Recent studies suggest that this is possible.13

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