US scientists have regrown the legs of frogs after a brief drug treatment, marking a significant advance for regenerative medicine.
The team at Tufts University, in collaboration with colleagues at Harvard University, both Massachusetts, used a combination of five drugs applied in a wearable silicone cap that was placed over the stump of the frog leg, that previously had been amputated.
Each drug had a different purpose, including reducing inflammation, promoting growth of blood vessels and muscle, and stopping scar tissue.
The findings, in Science Advances, showed that after an 18-month period of regrowth, frogs restored a functional leg able to respond to stimuli such as touch.
“The fact that it required only a brief exposure to the drugs to set in motion a months-long regeneration process suggests that frogs and perhaps other animals may have dormant regenerative capabilities that can be triggered into action,” said Nirosha Murugan, first author of the paper.