I was really upset when I heard that Superman, Christopher Reeve, was injured in a riding accident resulting in a severe spinal cord injury. Complications from the injury eventually caused his untimely death. When the Reeve Foundation was formed I contacted them and spoke at length with someone in the new organization about what the axolotl could do. It was a song I continued to sing over and over again to anyone who would listen. I would like to think someone did listen. Still it’s so obvious to anyone who knows anything about the near miraculous ability of the axolotl to regenerate that understanding this would lead to many regenerative breakthroughs that I realistically can’t take any credit. It would appear a huge step has been taken in that possibility.
This is a fascinating article on why the axolotl can regenerate the spinal cord after an injury but humans cannot. These scientists have located the precise master gene involved and the exact differentiation tree pathway accessed by the axolotl. In humans, this activation does not happen because a scarring pathway is activated instead. If the genes for the regeneration pathway are still intact in humans, we now have the potential to stimulate the cells at the site of a spinal cord injury so they go down a regeneration pathway to regenerate the spinal cord instead of scarring and destruction.
If this works the potential is endless. Axolotls can regenerate their hearts, their limbs, and even their brains. Imagine those who have lost a limb now being able to grow a new one or someone in heart failure just growing a new heart. The possibilities are endless.
This discovery also happens to fit our model in Embryogenesis Explained.