Advances in beauty serve regeneration

  • Retinoids

    Dr. Gudas discusses the DARPA project with Drs. Eric Wang and Leiping Fu from her lab. From left to right: Dr. Eric Wang, Dr. Lorraine Gudas, Dr. Leiping Fu.
    Photo courtesy of Dr.Lorraine Gudas

  • Mouse Retinoids

    Photo courtesy of Dr. Ellen Heber-Katz


Feeling bad for that mouse which just lost one of its fingers in a trap? Researchers have discovered that injured mice treated with vitamin A not only avoid scars but eventually regrow their entire finger.

Dr. Lorraine Gudas, the chairman of the Pharmacology Department at Weill Cornell Medical College, is studying how retinoids --natural or synthetic derivatives of vitamin A-- enhance stem-like cell formation and encourage the regrowth of tissue in mice with amputated digits. After cutting a portion of the digit, Gudas tries different pharmacological approaches and looks at which types of cells migrate and form at the wound site.

Her results indicate that a mass of undifferentiated cells or stem-like cells, which enhance faster and better tissue regeneration, are moving or are present at the wound site. Gudas is seeking to understand how undifferentiated stem cells eventually form skin, nerve, and bone. If scientists could direct the differentiation of stem cells at a wound site, it would be easier to reform functional tissue -- as opposed to scar tissue that merely plugs a wound and wards off infection.



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