COLUMBUS, Ohio — Researchers at Ohio State University have developed a way to generate different types of cells that can be used to repair and restore tissues, including organs, blood vessels and nerve cells.
The process is called Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT) and it’s being hailed as a “major scientific leap.”
“By using our novel nanochip technology, injured or compromised organs can be replaced,” explained Dr. Chandan Sen, one of the leaders of the study.
“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.”
So, how does it work?
Researchers said all they have to do is place the square chip on the skin, add the genetic code and then apply an energy source, reported The Columbus Dispatch. It’s a very straight forward process, but one that could have a major impact on the medical field.
In lab tests, researchers were able to reprogram skin cells to become vascular cells in one animal’s legs where the main artery had been cut. In less than a week, the technology generated blood vessels ultimately saving the leg.
In another application, the technology was used on an injured brain and helped mice recover from a stroke.
Researchers said the technology itself is small and portable, allowing it to be used outside of a doctor’s office or lab. It therefore has the potential to be used by troops on the front lines, Dr. Sen stated.
However, researchers won’t be able to conduct human testing until they receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
Dr. Sen said he hopes to begin trials within a year.