Science fiction becomes official policy.
According to this article:

Yesterday the Department of Defense announced the creation of the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine, which will go by the happy acronym AFIRM. According to DOD’s news service, AFIRM will “harness stem cell research and technology … to reconstruct new skin, muscles and tendons, and even ears, noses and fingers.”

“Not another stem cell article”, you decry? Among the new developments in medical labs, we have watched with fascination the creation of artificial livers and other tissues. Now, this research is going to be the focus of the US Department of Defense. This could potentially re-arm the amputees of war. This could restore limb function and mobility to those whose spinal cords have got damaged in accidents and bullet injuries. Think of restored vision, too. The benefits could spill-over into civilian health care as well.

Don’t underestimate this development. This could change life for ordinary human beings in a way politicians, bombers, terrorists and environmentalists cannot. More strength and more money to AFIRM, I say!


  1. They are going to start cloning humans too I believe. That is what is even more interesting. Hopefully they won’t do what was done in some movie…human clones were grown just for their organs!

  2. But won’t this have some negative aftereffects too? And this is the first step towards a law which would someday make cloning also an official policy.
    @Nita : The movie was “The Island”. 🙂

  3. As long as we don’t find harmful uses for the same procedures – yes more power to afirm?
    (Doc, between you and me, you reckon this might be able to me and the inactive cells in my brain?;) )

  4. R-Doc: The flanks of the realisable promise of the technological fixes is generously served by the numerous ‘coulds’ and ‘potentially’.

    The funding of Afirm would be an interesting one to watch because of its potential to be caught inevitably in the debate surrounding federal funding of stem cell research in the US (with its caveats about the start date of the research; admittedly I did not research Afirm’s genesis before posting this).

    If all goes well, then new tissue may be the first step much before organs can be grown. Harvesting animal organs is still less costly and the rate at which the US invades other countries, they are likely to need a lot of organs so pigs may not be allowed to fly but be captured for their bit-parts. No?

  5. Of course ‘are generously’. WP needs to enable a feature to make edits. (Or I could just read before posting 😉

  6. True rambodoc
    the good old internet has its roots in the ARPAnet form the DARPAnet and the kinda resources they have never understimate the DOD

    every tech has its plusses and minusses amit so it all depends upon how its used have u seen gataca?

  7. Vivek Khadpekar

    //Hopefully they won’t do…human clones were grown just for their organs!//

    Doesn’t sound as bad as killing “real” humans for their organs, or conning poor people into unwittingly parting with their kidneys.

  8. @Prax : And that is where it becomes scary. We always end up finding loopholes and harming others. Anyways, thats Progress I guess.
    I haven’t seen Gattaca, but now that you have mentioned it, my antennas are up. Will watch it ASAP. 🙂

  9. Folks:
    Long sorry for the delay in reply. No manners these days, I tell you!
    Thanks for the comment. They will focus not on xenotransplantation, but on regeneration.
    For those inert cerebral cortical neurons, try some red wine, a cigar and some smart dude for company. Will work wonders. On the other hand, the last may actually blow your mind away, leading to temporary insanity. 😉
    Vivek, Prax, Amit, and Nita:
    Thanks for commenting. I haven’t heard of any of these movies.

  10. doc
    it is an interesting movie
    catch it sometime if not for the story then atleast for Uma 😉

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