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A man that cut the end of his finger off in a hobby related accident was able to regrow skin, blood vessels, and the nail after using a extracellular matrix powder. About half an inch of finger was regrown in about 4 weeks using the powder. This medical marvel was performed by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh.

This powder is a medical product called extracellular matrix. Made from pig bladders, it is a mix of protein and connective tissue surgeons often use to repair tendons.

But it’s the matrix’s unusual power to regenerate tissue that’s helping launch a new field: regenerative medicine.

“It tells the body, start that process of tissue re-growth,” said Dr. Stephen Badylak of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Regenerative Medicine.

Researchers hope this leads the way to regrown limbs and can reduce the need for invasive surgery. The next step is trying to regrow the esophagus of a cancer patient. Other researchers are working on repairing heart muscle that was damaged in a heart attack.

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