Researchers have developed a nanochip that reprograms cells in the body and can therefore repair damaged tissue and organs.
Heal wounds with just a quick touch: What might sound like superstition to the ears of most people will soon be made possible with regenerative medicine. Scientists from Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have developed a nanochip which converts skin cells into any cell material. Damaged tissue can therefore be regenerated in a very short period of time, allowing injuries to be treated much more quickly.
Fingernail-sized chips are able to reprogram cells with just a brief touch — feature unique to the tissue nanotransfection (TNT) technology. “It takes just a fraction of a second. The chip is simply held on the location of the wound and then removed,” explains the lead researcher, Dr. Chandan Sen. The nanochip transmits the required genetic code into the skin cells below via a brief electrical pulse.
NANOCHIP REPAIRS COMPLETE ORGANS
In this manner, the treated cells automatically convert into the cell material required to heal the relevant injury, such as blood vessels, nerve tissue or organ tissue. If not required directly at the treated location, the tissue can be removed and re-injected into the corresponding area of the body. According to the study results, the healing effect begins within just a few days.
The researchers were not only able to regenerate damaged blood vessels in the laboratory using the nanochip:
“With our new technology, damaged or failing organs can be completely replaced,” explains Sen. Even brain cells can be regenerated, which might offer the researchers new ways of treating strokes or illnesses such as Parkinson’s.
In laboratory tests to date, the method has shown a sensational success rate of 98 percent. “We were surprised ourselves at just how well the principle worked,” said L. James Lee, co-author of the study. The intention is to test the nanochip on humans in clinical studies within the next year. If the researchers can prove that it works just as well on the complex human body as it does in the laboratory, the technology could be a new milestone in regenerative medicine.