New device could heal organs with a touch

Tissue Nanotransfection technology

The chip, programmed with precise genetic code or certain proteins, is positioned on the skin and a small electrical current forms channels in the tissue.

The method, called Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT), reprograms cells through a device that uses nanotechnology. "You simply touch the chip to the wounded area, then remove it", Chandan Sen, director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine and Cell-Based Therapies at Wexner, said in an OSU press release.

A small electric current fires DNA into skin cells to convert them into natural cell building blocks which helps to fix the damaged areas such as arteries and even organs like the heart.

USA Today reported Monday the process starts with a silicone chip no bigger than a dime that is placed on the surface of the skin of a living body.

"By using our novel nanochip technology, injured or compromised organs can be replaced", explained Dr. Chandan Sen, one of the leaders of the study.

A device developed at The Ohio State University can heal damaged organs by causing existing skin cells to develop into vascular cells.

By the second week, active blood vessels had formed, and by the third week, the legs of the mice were saved-with no other form of treatment.

TNT is a nanotechnology-based chip created to deliver cargo to adult cells in the body and the design of specific biological cargo for cell conversion.

Thus far, researchers say that the technique has worked 98 percent of the time. Through this process, the DNA will be converted to the specific building block cells of the damaged body part.

"The concept is very simple", says L. James Lee, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering with Ohio State's College of Engineering. They believe it will be possible to reprogram skin cells to harvest brain cells in a peripheral part of the body, such as the arm, which can then be injected into the brain.

"What's even more exciting is that it not only works on the skin, but on any type of tissue", Sen said.

Scientists said the procedure is non-invasive and does not require a laboratory, meaning it could be used in hospitals and GP surgeries. In my lab, we have ongoing research trying to understand the mechanism and do even better.

Sen said that the researchers are still waiting on approval for human testing from the FDA, but they are confident that it will be approved within a year.

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