The title above, and the reference for this is New Scientist 14 September 2013, page 33.
I was inspired to post this by another poster a short while back who tried to tell us all that there has been no major advance in medicine for decades. The 'rebuild your body' advances prove this wrong.
Turns out that the intercellular matrix, which is the scaffolding surrounding cells and organs providing shape and structure, has many functions. It is made up of proteins like collagen, elastin, integrin and fibronectin. These proteins do more than just provide shape and strength. They actually stimulate growth of exactly the correct cells for a particular organ, in exactly the right place.
One researcher, for example, removed kidneys from laboratory rats, and created new kidneys from shaped intercellular matrix, with rat stem cells implanted, and they grew into new kidneys which, transplanted into the same rats, gave them full kidney function.
This technique is now in use on humans, and is creating cures for injuries and illness that is quite "miraculous". For example, nasty accidents which tear out great chunks of human muscle often leave people as permanent cripples. But such muscles have now been rebuilt and successfully transplanted into victims, using the intercellular matrix taken from pigs, and seeded with human stem cells. Over time, the pig material dissolves away and leaves fully functional human muscles. People walking long distances who could not previously even stand.
Another technique introduced nanoparticles of silver into the matrix, which meant the transplanted item remained infection free (even against antibiotic resistant bacteria), and without using antibiotics at all.
Nasty fistulas now can be repaired with this material. New veins, stronger than the original, used by those who undergo dialysis and suffer vein degradation. Even an implant into rat brains that reverses signs of a stroke (yet to be done in humans).
Who said that medical break throughs had stopped!