Material That Saves Limbs is Called Pixie Dust. No, Really.

You know how medical advances always sound really obscure and weird? As in: “this new combination of tetrahydrozolene benzoate wrapped up with cow RNA and caterpillar mitochondria may make you itch less in the evenings”? Well, how about we keep it real and simple with something like “Pixie Dust”.

Because apparently, that’s the name informally given to a substance that helps to save limbs from amputation. No-one is quite sure how it works yet, but it’s made from pig bladder, and something about the material in pig bladder encourages large sections of human tissue to regrow – very quickly, too.

Even though it’s still experimental, it’s being used right now to treat American soldiers who have lost significant amounts of flesh and bone in explosions in Afghanistan. Reports say that they have saved limbs that otherwise would have required amputation – which both sounds very sci-fi but is also incredible.

One soldier who reported only 10% of the pre-injury strength of his leg was able to regain normal function, such as walking upstairs without aid.


Written by Navneet Alang

Navneet Alang is a technology-culture writer based in Toronto. You can find him on Twitter at @navalang

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  • This is amazing, in a few decades we would be able to regrow entire limbs like salamanders can.