Over the last couple of decades researchers have figured out how to induce stem cells to turn into different types of tissues, and have even managed to convert skin cells into other types of cells. This is still a long and meticulous laboratory process that requires a lot of precision and attention to detail. Now researchers at Ohio State University have come up with a method to turn skin cells into other cells, including vascular and nerve cells, by simply pressing a small chip against the skin.
The remarkable technique has been dubbed “tissue nanotransfection,” and it consists of a chip that delivers its payload with a jolt of electricity, at a voltage that should be nearly unfelt, and the cargo that can induce skin cells to change to a target cell type. The actual process is performed in-vivo and therefore doesn’t require a complicated lab setup to maintain the viability of the cells.
The research team converted the skin cells of mice that have suffered from ischemia caused by injury into vascular cells, and were able to improve the blood circulation through the affected tissues by increasing the number of vessels. The same was done by generating nerve cells on the skin and then injecting them into the brains of post stroke mice, thereby helping them recover from the condition.
“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,” in a published statement said Dr. Chandan Sen, director of Ohio State’s Center for Regenerative Medicine & Cell Based Therapies, who co-led 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. 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 team believes that clinical trials of this approach to reprogramming and harvesting new cells will begin as soon as next year, hopefully opening a new door to a plethora of new therapies to treat a wide variety of conditions.
Here’s an Ohio State video presenting the technology:
Study in Nature Nanotechnology: Topical tissue nano-transfection mediates non-viral stroma reprogramming and rescue…
Via: Ohio State…