A group of researchers at the University of Southern California are looking into how lizards regenerate their tails in hopes of applying that science to human cartilage.
Here’s a quick explainer of what exactly there USC scientists are researching:
“A team from USC has published the first detailed description of the interplay between two cell types that allow lizards to regenerate their tails,” one Twitter user explained.
“The discovery could provide insight for researchers studying how to rebuild cartilage damaged by osteoarthritis in humans, a degenerative and debilitating disease that affects about 32.5 million adults in the US. They hope to test whether they can induce cartilage building in mammals, beginning with mice.”
A team of researchers from USC have published the first detailed description of the interplay between two cell types that allow lizards to regenerate their tails
The discovery could provide insight for researchers studying how to rebuild cartilage damaged by osteoarthritis in… pic.twitter.com/3uSVUCyCo4
— Culture Crave 🍿 (@CultureCrave) August 10, 2023
Before moving to tests on mice, the research team experimented with recreating the regenerations process in one of the lizard’s limbs, which do not grow back in the same way their tails do. According to the team, septoclasts were then extracted from tails and successfully implanted into lizards’ limbs, resulting in the successful induction of cartilage building.
Prof Lotizo of the USC research team said: “This represents an important step because we need to understand the process in great detail before we can try to recreate it in mammals.”
Naturally, the study has led to Spider-Man fans taking notice, as the ability to regenerate body parts is obviously something that Dr. Curt Connors, aka The Lizard, is known for.
The Dr. Curt Connors character has been featured in all three cinematic eras of Spider-Man, as he was played by Dylan Baker in Sam Raimi’s trilogy and Rhys Ifans in 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man. Ifans then reprised his role as the character in 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Connors, created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, made his first appearance in 1963’s The Amazing Spider-Man #6. The character is usually portrayed more tragically than other Spider-Man villains to such an extent that he’s sometimes considered an anti-hero. Connors, in particular, has been known to be an ally and mentor of Peter Parker as he is a brilliant scientist in his own right.