Pig bladder helped man regrow his fingertip

22-02-2007 | |

An American man is said to have seen his sliced-off fingertip re-grow after the wound was sprinkled with a powdered extract of pig bladder.

Lee Spievack, a 68-year old shopkeeper from Cincinnati, Ohio, lost his right middle finger in the hobby shop where he works, back in August, 2005.

Within four weeks, after sprinkling, his finger had regained its original length and by the end of four months it was almost back to normal.

US scientists believe the pig bladder ‘potion’ may lead to an extraordinary breakthrough in regenerative medicine that could re-grow fingers, toes and limbs and even other body parts.

The Pentagon was so intrigued by the story it has launched a summer study to try and help soldiers who have lost parts of fingers fighting in Iraq.

The bladder extract contains collagen, the most abundant protein in mammals, together with a variety of substances that form a microscopic scaffolding for the fingertip to build around.

The powder also sends out chemical signals to promote the regeneration.

Spievack used the pig bladder after an advice from his brother, a former Harvard surgeon, running a company that makes an extract of pig bladder that had been used in the past to help horses re-grow ligaments.

A University of California scientist reacted rather sceptically to the news. “It sounds like you put it in a cauldron under a full moon,” he said.

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