What could possibly connect dolphins with the zebra fish, the common house mouse of today, and of course, ourselves.? Over 50 million years of evolution separate them.
By Peter Purvey
Well, the Spanish have a phrase for it,’Enlace al otro’, or, one thing leads to another., which could not be more appropriate in this case. Almost twenty years ago American geneticist Michael Zasloff was chatting to other scientists over a pint after giving a lecture at St, Andrews University, in Fife, Scotland on antibiotics found in animal skin. One, a marine biologist happened to say that he was puzzled by the ability of dolphins to recover from horrendous bites from whales, sometimes as long as 45 cm and 12 cm deep with no sign of infection or scar tissue.
Zasloff went back to his University but couldn’t get dolphins and their phenomenal ability to regenerate their cells out of his mind and in 2011 published a paper on the ‘mysterious and remarkable wound healing process of the bottle-nosed dolphin’. Soon after, he spoke to a fellow biologist, Kevin Strange about this and thus began a collaboration between them and Associate Professor Viravuth Yin that has resulted in the article in the April 2019 edition of ‘Scientific American’ on which this repòrt is based.
Some molecule or chemical has been passed down faithfully through each species from generation to generation that allows cell regeneration, but what was it?. Human beings have it in a very limited capacity. The only organ in our bodies that has this ability is the liver, but what is preventing other organs the same facility.?
The outcome of many thousand hours of trial and error has revealed that a molecule known as MSI 1436 originally identified by Zasloff in a small shark and used to treat diabetes and obesity (and, most importantly, already with an FDA certificate for trial with humans,) has found to be a catalyst for inducing cell regeneration. Regeneration is known across a whole range of animals Dolphins , Zebra fish, and mice, mostly with internal organs much like ours, will grow a new tail, repair a damaged heart, kidneys, pancreas and appendages and the lamprey can repair a damaged spinal cord.
It is not hard to appreciate the profound importance to our species if we, too ,could take advantage of this miracle molecule. Unfortunately somewhere along the line of evolution we developed a molecule that prevented the regeneration signals from reaching our DNA. This may have occurred to prevent runaway cell reproduction which resulted in cancer.. This has now been identified as an enzyme called PTP1B. Tests with mice and zebra fish have proved that now it is possible to start the regrowth of heart damaged after a heart attack by first injecting the damaged organ with molecxule MSI 1436 and later with PTB1B which will then begin the natural regeneration to restore the organ’s original blood pumping ability.
Experiments on humans must begin soon and the world of medicine awaits the result with bated breath !
A strange medical story from ‘Discover’ magazine, April 2019
An Indiana woman had ben suffering from from problems understanding conversations and things she read. A brain scan indicated a tumor and she underwent surgery in California. The tumour was removed and to the great suprise of the surgeons it was found to contain hair, skin and bone, called a TERATOMA.. This can occur during embryonic development when a persons’s germ cells multiply abnormally and some end up in the wrong place. Althouygh it has many components of a normal body it is not the remains of a twin which can only occur when a fertilized egg divides in two.
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