A mysterious scientist working on unethical experiments for the Syndicate -- no, not Professor Hasegawa, another one. He is only mentioned in the console text below. One wonders if the Syndicate had a number of scientists working for them at any one time, in separate locations. Presumably the experiments were meant to yield either products that could be sold legally or illegally, or else to develop something that would be useful as a weapon, such as a super-soldier.
One experiment consisted of successfully splitting the spinal column of a research subject by 'telling' the cells between the two severed halves to serve as nerve linkages.
Unfortunately, he was obsessed with seeing how far this discovery could be pushed and was prepared to perform ghastly experiments on human captives he had bought from the Syndicate.
A full-scale raid of his island facilities was mounted and the lab installations were destroyed, but Navarre's body was never recovered.
Reality soon outruns fiction ?
- At first scientists tried to repair nerve damages by taking embryonic stem cells (ESC) and let them replicate and then specialize to nerve cells.
- In 1999 a mouse spine was repaired with ESC to some degree. -- At that time Oni's story was rewritten. It might be possible that Hardy read about the experiment and pushed the idea a few steps further.
- Due to ethical concerns scientists looked for an alternative way to gain human pluripotent cells. Some people argue that separating human embryonic stem cells is equal to a kill: to them it matters the cells' potential to become a complete human. Other people don't have concerns about this because the embryonic stem cells would be separated before neurons and a possible personality form. -- With the new methods, mature cells become reprogrammed to so-called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). Those cells - which are very similar to ESC - can then be prompted to differentiate again into the desired cell types.
- In 2012 a mouse spine was repaired with iPSC.
- Producing those pluripotent cells and let them transform (differentiate) into the desired cell types is only the second best option because errors can occur during the process and often there are more than one transformation necessary.
- Here comes transdifferentiation very handy, this process changes the cell type directly.
- In 2013 another direct cell type conversion was demonstrated whereby only one type of protein needed to get repressed. That's good news because methods based on viral vectors, plasmids and RNA can alter the genome in an unintentional way or have other problematic side effects.
- In 2017 control of plasmids (ring-shaped bacterial genomes) has been improved. With it normal stem cells have been reliable differentiated. As soon as this can be achieved with iPSC, tissue engineering should get a boost resulting in myriads of applications. For unhealable diseases you can expect that they will cut out the tissue and replace it with a printed chunk.
For the year 2032 it seems totally possible to regenerate spinal damages in humans. With that in mind, Bertram Navarre depicts a very believable speculation about future's technology.