I went to the lab where they're experimenting on 83's skin samples. I watched through the glass wall as the scientists inside ran various tests, standard biological stuff as far as I could tell. I loitered outside until someone came out who I could speak to. I asked the scientist what they were doing with the tissue, and she told me they're searching for the mechanism by which 83's skin regenerates. She said it's a particularly fascinating case because they don't know where the energy or protein for the regeneration comes from. 83 eats nowhere near enough food, and they suspect he draws on the mal in some way.
I told her I thought the research sounded fascinating, and that it had obvious applications in medicine. I asked her if she thought it might produce something that could be sold, or used in other applications. I was thinking of how much money could be made from cellular regeneration. She looked at me as if I were an idiot, and said that whatever mechanism was involved in 83's regeneration wouldn't function away from The Sick Land, just like everything else they study here. I was embarrassed; I thanked her, and left.
I've been worried about possible cynical motivations here, but the scientist I spoke to made a good point: whatever they discover here only holds here. The research, though unpalatable, is obviously aimed at helping people survive the mal, which is a noble goal. I'm still not sure how it relates to stopping the expansion, but I'll continue speaking to people until I find out.