Bio-rubber: Regenerating Body Parts of Our Own

Posted on December 4, 2015 by Dr. Lynda

Why is a human ear growing on a mouse, and how could this ear-shaped synthetic body part – made out of what scientists are calling bio-rubber – change the world?

In today’s Ever Widening Circles article, we are sharing an astounding new aspect of science and technology that may someday touch all our lives in some way. Very recently, scientists have discovered the real “matrix” – something they call bio-rubber – and it is pushing the door wide open on possibility.

Image: Bio rubber is regenerating body parts

Some of you may know the idea of regenerating body parts is not that new, but using bio-rubber most definitely is.

And what if we could skip the mouse entirely? With the new bio-rubber, soon we’ll be growing ears directly where they ought to be.

Of course, it doesn’t stop at ears: Bio-rubber could be the breakthrough we need in order to grow a new kidney for someone whose life would otherwise depend on access to a $100,000 dialysis machine (or a decade, or multiple decades-long wait for a donor organ).

Image: Biorubber scaffolding and green muscle fibers woven together in a microscopic grid
This image of shows multiple thin layers of an elastic “biorubber” polymer (purple) and interwoven muscle tissue (green) formed from neonatal rat heart cells (credit: MIT photo)

Perhaps this mouse’s bio-rubber-human-ear is the starting point for being able to grow a new heart for a child awaiting a transplant.

Regenerating body parts of our own could completely eliminate the problem of rejected transplanted organs!

In the following, stunning episode of the famous PBS NOVA program, Replacing Body Parts, you’ll see an explanation of how this extraordinary process of harnessing Mother Nature’s matrix may change the medical world as we know it.  And we didn’t even realize this existed a short decade ago!

Here’s an amazing video that explains this breakthrough. Be patient through a very short advertisement, then take a look into our extraordinary shared future:



Just imagine the wonderful possibilities and applications of bio-rubber!

I have a feeling that this innovation will eventually find its way into many of our lives, making hit-or-miss organ transplants, organ donations, and organ waiting-lists a thing of the past. We look forward to watching the journey at Ever Widening Circles, and hope you’ll stay with us as we keep track of good news as the science unfolds and evolves.

If you’d like to see another article about innovations in our understanding of the human body, we wrote a very popular article about the bionic arm given to a 7 year old boy, by Robert Downey Jr. of Iron Man fame.

iron man bionic arm

But the best part about that article is that we go way beyond what you saw on Facebook and explain the even better story behind the making of the artificial arm: a clever college student made it for under $1000, while artificial arms most people get cost tens of thousand so dollars!

Another fun article about innovation is DARPA: Removing Fear of Failure. In that piece, you’ll learn some amazing insights and consider why we should celebrate failure!

But is not just about science. We write one article a day – on any subject under the sun – to prove it is still an amazing world. An article that does just that is called Flying Rays: Wonders of Nature, and another is called When Art, Science and Sports Combine. Check them out!

If you’d like a little more positive news for the day, scroll down to the bottom of this page to find six more articles that will put a spring in your step.

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