Did you watch The Amazing Spider-Man last year? The superhero reboot from 500 Days of Summer director Marc Webb featured a new Spider-Man and one of his fiendish foes, The Lizard. The character of Dr. Connors was Peter Parker’s good friend, who was working on an experiment to introduce the DNA of a lizard into his body so he could re-generate his amputated arm. Unfortunately, this tragic event turned him into the Lizard, and there was much running amok. Well, it appears Australian researchers are performing real-life experiments with the immune system cell in salamanders to regenerate missing limbs and damaged organs in humans.
Salamanders have the unique ability to regenerate almost any part of their body — including their spinal cords, hearts, and parts of their brains — that have been damaged or severed. Of course, mammals don’t have anywhere near the same ability, as our growth response is severely limited. James Godwin and his team at Monash University’s Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute are trying to bridge the gap between salamanders and mammals by trying to transfer the former’s unique ability to humans.