Researchers have developed a new breakthrough tiny device that can repair any cell type within the patient’s own body. This technology call Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT) can be used to repair injured tissue or restore the function of blood vessels, nerve cells and aging tissue, including organs.
In the study, published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, researchers at The Ohio State University and Ohio State’s College of Engineering, were able to reprogram skin cells in lab tests, to become vascular cells in seriously harmed legs that lack blood flow.
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Within one week, active blood vessels appeared on the injured leg, and by the second week, the leg was rescued.
This technology was also demonstrated ability to turn skin cells in the live body to any other type of cell. When they injected into brain-injured mice, they become nerve cells that helped the mice to recover from the stroke.
“Damaged or compromised organs can be replaced,” said Dr. Chandan Sen, director of Ohio State’s Center for Regenerative Medicine & Cell Based Therapies who co-led the study with L. James Lee, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering said: “We have shown that skin is a fertile land where we can grow the elements of any organ that is declining.”
“This is difficult to imagine, but it is achievable, successfully working about 98 percent of the time,”, Sen added, “With this non-invasive technology, we can convert skin cells into elements of any organ with just one touch which instantly delivers new DNA or RNA into living skin cells to change their function, and in less than a second – and then you’re off.”
The chip does not stay with you and the cargo is delivered by zapping the device with a small electrical charge that’s barely felt by the patient. “Our technology keeps the cells in the body under immune surveillance, so immune suppression is not necessary,” Sen said.
TNT technology has two major components: First is a nanotechnology-based chip designed to deliver cargo to adult cells in the live body. Second is the design of specific biological cargo for cell conversion.
This cargo, when delivered using the chip, converts an adult cell from one type to another, said first author Daniel Gallego-Perez, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering and general surgery.
TNT doesn’t require any laboratory-based procedures and may implement at the point of care.
The cargo is delivered by zapping the device with a small electrical charge that’s barely felt by the patient.
“The concept is very simple,” Lee said. “As a matter of fact, we were even surprised how it worked so well. In my lab, we have ongoing research trying to understand the mechanism and do even better. So, this is the beginning, more to come.”
Researchers plan to start clinical trials next year to test this technology in humans.