Forget the adamantium skeleton. But immunologists are getting closer to finding ways of helping our bodies heal faster.
In this TED talk, regenerative tissue engineer Kaitlyn Sadtler explains some of the exciting developments in her field:
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.