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War_on_Wounds_Article - HEALTH War on Wounds Why the...

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HEALTH War on Wounds Why the military is backing the cool new field of regenerative medicine. By Anne Underwood | NEWSWEEK From the magazine issue dated May 19, 2008 To visit Wake Forest University's institute for Regenerative Medicine is to enter a surreal world where scientists create living organs—hearts, bladders and even kidneys—that function like the real thing. Skin, bone, cartilage, blood vessels, nerves: nothing seems too ambitious for director Anthony Atala and his staff of 150 to craft. And while none of their creations are available from your doctor yet—most are still being tested in animals—there have been enough small-scale successes in humans that the U.S. military is suddenly very interested. War may be hell, but it has a way of accelerating medical research. World War I brought methods for collecting and preserving blood for transfusions. World War II saw the introduction of penicillin into medical practice. One day, medical historians may remember Iraq and Afghanistan for spurring regenerative medicine, a grab bag of techniques that share the same end —to repair human bodies by helping them regenerate living tissue, rather than relying on artificial parts. Last month Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker, the Army surgeon general, announced $85
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