The future of regenerative medicine just got better with a ‘breakthrough’ technology that will enable damaged organs to regrow and severe wounds to heal faster.
On Monday, The Ohio State University published on its news blog that a group of researchers from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Ohio State College of Engineering has developed a new technology that can “generate any cell type of interest for treatment within the patient’s own body.”
Nanotechnology Regenerates Cells
According to the research, the new technology, Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT), has the capability to reprogram skin cells which can be considered a breakthrough in repairing injured or aging tissues.
Dr. Chandan Sen, director of Ohio State’s Center for Regenerative Medicine & Cell Based Therapies and also co-led the study, was quoted as saying:
“By using our novel nanochip technology, injured or compromised organs can be replaced. We have shown that skin is a fertile land where we can grow the elements of any organ that is declining.”Cell regeneration is now a reality! All thanks to a new #nanotechnology. Click To Tweet
Tissue Nanotransfection Technology
By using mice and pigs in conducting experiments, the researchers were able to reprogram skin cells to become vascular cells in a leg that lacked blood flow due to injury.
Results of the trial showed that a week after it was made, blood vessels started appearing in the injured leg. By the second week, the leg was said to have been completely saved.
In a separate laboratory experiment, the technology was shown to reprogram skin cells in the live body into nerve cells that were injected into brain-injured mice to help them recover from stroke. Dr. Sen further stated:
“This is difficult to imagine, but it is achievable, successfully working about 98 percent of the time. With this technology, we can convert skin cells into elements of any organ with just one touch.
This process only takes less than a second and is non-invasive, and then you’re off. The chip does not stay with you, and the reprogramming of the cell starts. Our technology keeps the cells in the body under immune surveillance, so immune suppression is not necessary.”
The Nanotransfection technology is composed of two major components. The first is the nanotechnology-based chip used to deliver treatment cargo to adult cells in the living body. The second is the design of the particular biological cargo for cell conversion.
Apparently, an adult cell can be converted from one type to another after the nanochip has delivered the cargo.
Simply put, the technique works by attaching nanochips over a damaged area of the body. Then, small electric current will fire DNA into the skin cells. Through this process, the DNA will be converted to the specific building block cells of the damaged body part.
Further reports claimed that the researchers behind the technology firmly believe that TNT could also be used to fight neurological diseases such as Alzheimer‘s and Parkinson‘s. 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.
L. James Lee, professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Ohio State’s College of Engineering and co-author of the study said:
“The concept is very simple. 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.”
Dr. Sen and his team plan to start clinical trials on humans next year.