Molecular Fountain of Youth
An antibiotic substance seems to stimulate the regeneration of injured body tissue in an amazing way. Now he has to prove himself in clinical tests; he has already cleared a big hurdle.
Sometimes scientists are even inspired by pub stories. Shortly after the turn of the millennium, the geneticist Michael Zasloff from Georgetown University (Washington D. C.) traveled to Scotland. At the University of St Andrews there, he gave a lecture on antibiotic substances in the skin of animals. Then he went for a beer with some other scientists. A marine biologist told him that when dolphins attack sharks, they sometimes suffer bite wounds 45 centimeters long and 12 centimeters deep, which amazingly heal within a few weeks – without any signs of infection.
Zasloff was amazed and couldn't forget the conversation. In the years that followed, he read many reports of dolphin bite wounds and contacted marine biologists who were knowledgeable about these animals. In 2011 he published an article in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology en titled "Observations on the Remarkable (and Mysterious) Wound Healing Processes in Bottlenose Dolphins". In it, he pointed out that it is not scar tissue that closes the dolphins' flesh wounds - which can be easily distinguished from normal body tissue - but that the marine mammals actually rebuild the shredded tissue and thus restore the previous condition. Shortly thereafter, Zasloff called one of us (Kevin Strange). Then President at the non-profit scientific organization MDI Biological Laboratory, Strange supported research into natural and synthetic substances that stimulate the regeneration of body tissue. Zasloff suspected that some of the antibiotic substances he had discovered in animal skin might also be involved…