News Stories

New Hope for Old Folks

It can be depressing to grow old, but there's a ray of sunshine around every corner. For instance, a drug developed to treat leukemia has a surprising side effect?it restores color to gray hair. News hasn't been this good since a heart medicine was found to grow hair on bald pates (and is now sold in drugstores as Rogaine). French doctors treated 133 cancer patients with the drug Gleevec and found that five men and four women who started out with gray hair had their old color back by the end of the treatment.

Dentures may become a relic of the past, as well as gray hair. A British scientist is using the latest techniques in genetic engineering to grow teeth from stem cells. Paul Sharpe, of King?s College in London, says, "?You go along to your dentist, we take cells from you and engineer them. We replace them into the site you need the tooth and, hey presto, the tooth would grow."

Two years ago scientists at the National Institutes of Health found that the tiny pulp chamber inside every tooth contains stem cells capable of turning into tooth-producing cells called odontoblasts. "Yes, it's complicated,? says Sharpe, ?But we are letting the natural embryonic development pathways do the work for us."

Jane Katra showed skeptical scientist Russell Targ the secrets of healing when she freed him from cancer. Read about Targ?s change of heart in ?Heart of the Mind?, click here.

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