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  • What if you could take a pill or a vaccine

  • and, just like getting over a cold,

  • you could heal your wounds faster?

  • Today, if we have an operation or an accident,

  • we're in the hospital for weeks,

  • and often left with scars and painful side effects

  • of our inability to regenerate or regrow healthy, uninjured organs.

  • I work to create materials

  • that instruct our immune system to give us the signals to grow new tissues.

  • Just like vaccines instruct our body to fight disease,

  • we could instead instruct our immune system

  • to build tissues and more quickly heal wounds.

  • Now, regrowing body parts out of nowhere might seem like magic,

  • but there are several organisms that can achieve this feat.

  • Some lizards can regrow their tails,

  • the humble salamander can completely regenerate their arm,

  • and even us mere humans can regrow our liver

  • after losing more than half of its original mass.

  • To make this magic a bit closer to reality,

  • I'm investigating how our body can heal wounds and build tissue

  • through instructions from the immune system.

  • From a scrape on your knee to that annoying sinus infection,

  • our immune system defends our body from danger.

  • I'm an immunologist,

  • and by using what I know about our body's defense system,

  • I was able to identify key players

  • in our fight to build back our cuts and bruises.

  • When looking at materials that are currently being tested

  • for their abilities to help regrow muscle,

  • our team noticed that after treating an injured muscle with these materials,

  • there was a large number of immune cells

  • in that material and the surrounding muscle.

  • So in this case,

  • instead of the immune cells rushing off towards infection to fight bacteria,

  • they're rushing toward an injury.

  • I discovered a specific type of immune cell,

  • the helper T cell,

  • was present inside that material that I implanted

  • and absolutely critical for wound healing.

  • Now, just like when you were a kid and you'd break your pencil

  • and try and tape it back together again,

  • we can heal,

  • but it might not be in the most functional way,

  • and we'll get a scar.

  • So if we don't have these helper T cells,

  • instead of healthy muscle,

  • our muscle develops fat cells inside of it,

  • and if there's fat in our muscle, it isn't as strong.

  • Now, using our immune system,

  • our body could grow back without these scars

  • and look like what it was before we were even injured.

  • I'm working to create materials

  • that give us the signals to build new tissue

  • by changing the immune response.

  • We know that any time a material is implanted in our body,

  • the immune system will respond to it.

  • This ranges from pacemakers to insulin pumps

  • to the materials that engineers are using to try and build new tissue.

  • So when I place that material, or scaffold, in the body,

  • the immune system creates a small environment of cells and proteins

  • that can change the way that our stem cells behave.

  • Now, just like the weather affects our daily activities,

  • like going for a run

  • or staying inside and binge-watching an entire TV show on Netflix,

  • the immune environment of a scaffold

  • affects the way that our stem cells grow and develop.

  • If we have the wrong signals,

  • say the Netflix signals,

  • we get fat cells instead of muscle.

  • These scaffolds are made of a variety of different things,

  • from plastics to naturally derived materials,

  • nanofibers of varying thicknesses,

  • sponges that are more or less porous,

  • gels of different stiffnesses.

  • And researchers can even make the materials

  • release different signals over time.

  • So in other words, we can orchestrate this Broadway show of cells

  • by giving them the correct stage, cues and props

  • that can be changed for different tissues,

  • just like a producer would change the set

  • for "Les Mis" versus "Little Shop of Horrors."

  • I'm combining specific types of signals

  • that mimic how our body responds to injury to help us regenerate.

  • In the future, we could see a scar-proof band-aid,

  • a moldable muscle filler or even a wound-healing vaccine.

  • Now, we aren't going to wake up tomorrow and be able to heal like Wolverine.

  • Probably not next Tuesday, either.

  • But with these advances,

  • and working with our immune system to help build tissue and heal wounds,

  • we could begin seeing products on the market

  • that work with our body's defense system to help us regenerate,

  • and maybe one day be able to keep pace with a salamander.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

What if you could take a pill or a vaccine

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B1 US TED immune immune system heal muscle regrow

How we could teach our bodies to heal faster | Kaitlyn Sadtler

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    林宜悉 posted on 2018/10/11
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