"We're working on long-term projects to regenerate fingers and limbs," says Koudy Williams, Professor at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
"But we have safer ways to do it than the researchers in Spiderman." says the self-described "Spiderman geek".
Several of the science themes in Spiderman's latest adventure from working to harness the body's natural regenerative powers to making use of natural materials such as the silk in spiderwebs are happening today in regenerative medicine laboratories, Williams added.
Regenerative medicine is a relatively new field of science that works to replace or repair damaged or diseased tissues and organs, a Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center statement said.
"When I was watching the movie, I said to myself, 'We do that sort of,'" said Williams.
"We do study the regenerative abilities of salamanders and other animals and we try to harness the body's innate ability to regenerate itself. But we would never combine human and animal genes, we have much safer methods."
According to Williams, bladders, urine tubes and sections of windpipes have already been built in this way and implanted in humans.
"The body has the capacity to heal naturally," says Williams. When there's an injury, cells release substances known as chemokines that attract other cells to promote healing."
That's how a broken bone repairs itself and the outer layer of the eye re-grows if it is scratched. In regenerative medicine, our aim is to boost this natural healing power.
"The body knows what it needs to heal. We work to see if we can improve on it. This is most like what scientists in the Spiderman movie were doing. Our projects include evaluating the use of natural materials to speed up nerve regeneration, heal diseased kidneys and improve one of the current options for heart valve replacement," Williams said.
In the lab, scientists use natural materials such as silk found in spiderwebs as scaffolds for organs and tissues that they are engineering, said.