WATCH: ‘Healing chip’ for wounds reprograms skin cells
A team from the Ohio State University created a ‘healing chip’ which can possibly fix most injuries externally and internally, all without the need for an operation.
The technology is called Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT), which uses a small chip to inject genetic code into a person’s skin cells. This then reprograms the skin cells into other types of cells to help in treating wounds and diseased conditions.
TNT has the potential to act as a starting point for developing less risky, non-invasive procedures to treat internal injuries. This means people with internal injuries could one day be helped without the need to cut them open.
One of the lab tests involved a mouse and its injured leg which had little to no blood flow. The chip successfully helped transform skin cells into blood vessels, which allowed blood to flow to the leg again, in just two weeks.
According to the University’s statement, the chip is loaded with DNA or genetic information for a specific cell which needs to be created. It is then placed over the injured area and a small electrical current is run through it. This current passes on the information from the chip to the skin cells, where they will take root and start the reprogramming process.
In another experiment, Dr. Chandan Sen, director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine and Cell-Based Therapies at the Ohio State University, explained that they were able to grow brain cells from mouse skin.
The brain cells were later harvested then injected into a mouse that had a damaged brain due to stroke. The mouse was fully healed in just a few weeks.
Moving forward, Dr. Sen stated that the chip could also be tasked to reprogram other cells in the body, not just the skin.
Thanks to the promising lab results, the researchers are confident that human trials can begin within a year. JB
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