Breakthrough device heals organs with a single touch

August 7, 2017, Ohio State University Medical Center
Researchers demonstrate a process known as tissue nanotransfection at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. In laboratory tests, this process was able to heal the badly injured legs of mice in just three weeks with a single touch of this chip. The technology works by converting normal skin cells into vascular cells, which helped heal the wounds. Credit: The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Ohio State's College of Engineering have developed a new technology, Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT), that can generate any cell type of interest for treatment within the patient's own body. This technology may be used to repair injured tissue or restore function of aging tissue, including organs, blood vessels and nerve cells.

Results of the study published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

"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," 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 with Ohio State's College of Engineering in collaboration with Ohio State's Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center.

Researchers studied mice and pigs in these experiments. In the study, researchers were able to reprogram to become vascular in badly injured legs that lacked blood flow. Within one week, active appeared in the injured leg, and by the second week, the leg was saved. In lab tests, this technology was also shown to reprogram skin cells in the live body into that were injected into brain-injured mice to help them recover from stroke.

Device instantly delivers new DNA or RNA into living skin cells to change their function. Credit: The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

"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," said Sen, who also is executive director of Ohio State's Comprehensive Wound Center.

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 who also was a postdoctoral researcher in both Sen's and Lee's laboratories.

TNT doesn't require any laboratory-based procedures and may be implemented at the point of care. The procedure is also non-invasive. 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, Sen said.

Explore further: Scientists successfully create blood from skin cells

More information: Topical tissue nano-transfection mediates non-viral stroma reprogramming and rescue, Nature Nanotechnology (2017). DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2017.134

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not rated yet Aug 07, 2017
It is hardly just a touch ("applying a highly intense and focused electric field") and it is not new either.

"This tissue nano-transfection (TNT) approach allows direct cytosolic delivery of reprogramming factors by applying a highly intense and focused electric field through arrayed nanochannels which benignly nanoporates the juxtaposing tissue cell membranes and electrophoretically drives reprogramming factors into the cells."
not rated yet Aug 07, 2017
Could this be used to repair Peripheral Neuropathy?
not rated yet Aug 07, 2017
This is similar to Star Trek tech. Amazing if it developes its promise. No more shambling crowds of amputees outside quack vein doctor's offices that started their practices destroying veins that 'detracted from women's looks' .No more programmed death from other medighouls that peddle 'prosthetics' that promise the ability to walk again but actually deliver death. In order to 'prepare for the prosthetic' the 'stumps' are first tightly wrapped like a strangled mummy which wrappings destroy any circulation that stump has left.....more surgury...more money for surgighouls..etc.
Yep, would love to see this technology succeed. Imagine what it could do for space medicine where hard to find drugs would not be available at all.
not rated yet Aug 07, 2017
And yessss, MrBlizz, it could. The article DID say it could convert skin cells to nerve cells to repair stroke damage. Peripheral neuropathy is degeneration of nerve cells in the extremities like feet and maybe hands but more often feet. Replace these cells, and rebuild the vascular network and you are a reborn athlete. .......... no to think what it could do for men with Erectile Dysphunction, like old Bob Dole who fell off a porch and so went the election, leaving him with limited 'options'.
not rated yet Aug 07, 2017
1 Second MAGIC ?
not rated yet Aug 07, 2017
Researchers were able to grow brain cells on the skin surface of a mouse, harvest them, then inject them into the mouse's injured brain. Just a few weeks after having a stroke, brain function in the mouse was restored & healed. Since the technique uses patient's own cells and does not rely on medication, researchers expect it to be approved for human trials within a year.
Aug 08, 2017
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not rated yet Aug 14, 2017
My sister lost half of a foot about 28 years ago, due to diabetes. Our youngest brother lost a toe to diabetes exactly one week ago today. I wonder if this tech could have helped them before the surgery. I have diabetes; I wonder if this tech will help me someday.

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