Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

In 2017 we celebrated five years of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science

Tree Restoration
28 March 2013

Tree Restoration

Will scientists soon be able to rebuild damaged organs? This bonsai-like structure is actually part of a salivary gland that has survived radiation treatment: a therapy for cancer that causes damage our bodies normally can’t repair. In particular, radiation destroys the nerves that instruct the gland to produce saliva. They die off and are often not replaced, leaving patients with a dry mouth, oral infections and difficulty eating. Here, researchers have identified a protein that safeguards the nerves (stained red) during radiation treatment allowing them and the surrounding gland tissue (stained green) to regenerate. The potential use of this protective protein is not confined to the mouth since similar nerves are found in many different organs. This research was done in mice but if the mechanism in humans is comparable perhaps radiation treatment for future generations will be less hazardous.

Written by Julie Webb

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More