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Robot Millionaire Takes a Shot at Fixing Severed Spines

  • Companies cheer Japan's liberalized regenerative medicine laws
  • Fixing damaged organs & tissue could yield $25 billion by 2050
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On a cloudy Wednesday morning in the Tokyo suburb of Tsukuba, Yoshiyuki Sankai points excitedly to a slide of severed spinal cords. They belong to rats, and he’s used cell technology to help reconnect the nerves.

A multi-millionaire whose robot company, Cyberdyne Inc., went public last year, Sankai is researching ways to repair damaged body tissue. The 57-year-old scientist’s vision: to treat patients with spinal injuries by using stem-cell related technology to repair nerve connections and robotic suits that aid movement.