"Headline Oct14,2012/"


Dr Stephen Badylak has always had problems explaining what he does for a living. He used to say,''I do biomedical engineering.'' After a while, as a default response, Badylak would simply say,''Well, I am in medical research.'' The truth is he is one of the greatest thinkers of our times and he could well be, the biggest makers of ''body parts'' ever. Dr Badylak has regrown sizable portions of esophagi, tendons,ligaments,bladders,urethras, abdominal walls,blood vessels, and hearts within animals and humans.

As a research Scientist, early in his career, he lifted science while working on Rocky. Rocky was a dog, a mixed breed and Badylak was conducting an experiment that required replacing a segment of the Aorta around Rocky's heart. In a reflective thought, one day, Badylak wondered, What in the body has same shape and size as an aorta? What's tubular? He settled on the small intestine, and replaced part of the dog's aorta with part of his small intestine.

''When we came in the next morning.'' says Badylak, ''he was just standing. wagging his tail, and wanting breakfast.''

That was surprising but not nearly as shocking as what happened next.

Over the next weeks and months, as Badylak examined the new part of the aorta, he discovered that the intestine had not become simply a tube to pass blood through but had literally morphed into an aorta. And no scar tissue had formed. This defied what was previously known about healing.

Badylak had accidentally performed the biological equivalent of a magician turning a handkerchief into a dove.

But this was no illusion.

At about the same time of this narrative, Lee Spievack severed a good half inch of a finger in an accident.His coworkers dialed 911. Seeing that there was nothing left to reattach, the doctors at the hospital bandaged his wound and told him to follow it up with a hand surgeon.

The surgeon was matter of fact: In a few days, he would take skin from Spievack's forearm or thigh, then paste it over the finger, leaving a nub.

By chance he called his older brother, Alan, a retired Harvard Medical School Surgeon. He told Alan that the doctors planned to do a skin graft. ''That's crazy,'' Alan said. ''Instead of one wound, you will now have two. I want you to go in there and cancel the appointment.''

When they were teenagers, the Spievack brothers raised salamenders. Alan Spievack was introduced to the creatures during the freshman year at Kenyon College, after acing a biology exam.

Nobody had ever aced this Professor's exam before, so he asked to see Alan after the class.Instead of congratulating him, the Professor began to question him very very closely -suggesting, maybe, that he may have cheated, or the test was too easy, or maybe the course was. Spievack concluded that the Professor was worried about his reputation as a tough guy teaching a tough course.

''I almost promised him I will never do it again,'' recalls Spievack with a twinkle! HaHaha!

With many thanks to !WOW! as this unique research post continues.

Good Night & God Bless


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