From MSNBC: "The latest science and schemes for achieving long life and the "singularity" moment of smarter-than-human intelligence came together at the Singularity Summit held [in New York] October 15-16. Some researchers explored cutting-edge, serious work about regenerating human body parts and defining the boundaries of consciousness in brain studies. ... The most immediate advances related to living longer and better may come from regenerative medicine. Pioneering physicians have already regrown the tips of people's fingers and replaced cancer-ridden parts of human bodies with healthy new cells. ... Success so far has come from using a special connective tissue - called the extracellular matrix (ECM) - to act as a biological scaffold for healthy cells to build upon. Badylak showed a video where his team of surgeons stripped out the cancerous lining of a patient's esophagus like pulling out a sock, and relined the esophagus with an ECM taken from pigs. The patient remains cancer-free several years after the experimental trial. The connective tissue of other animals doesn't provoke a negative response in human bodies, because it lacks the foreign animal cells that would typically provoke the immune system to attack. It has served the same role as a biological foundation for so long that it represents a 'medical device that's gone through hundreds of millions of years of R&D'. ... If work goes well, Badylak envisions someday treating stroke patients by regenerating pieces of the functioning human brain."