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Nanotechnology Device Can Heal Damaged Tissues With A Single Touch

Nano-chip promises to heal organs at a touch

Researchers have developed a tiny chip that, when applied to an affected area, can regenerate and fix failing body functions by turning skin cells into other types of healing cells.

"By using our novel nanochip technology, injured or compromised organs can be replaced", explained Dr. Chandan Sen, one of the leaders of the study.

Lee, Sen and Gallego-Perez were part of a group of researchers that lodged a patent application in 2016 for an earlier iteration of TNT: a device that enables "compositions and methods for reprogramming somatic cells into induced endothelial cells".

A device developed at The Ohio State University can heal damaged organs by causing existing skin cells to develop into vascular cells. The procedure only takes a second and is not invasive.

"This technology does not require a laboratory or hospital and can actually be executed in the field", Chandan Sen, the director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine and Cell-Based Therapies, told USA Today. Active blood vessels appeared within one week and the legs were saved within two weeks.

The new research that was published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology is a step ahead from what people commonly know as gene therapy.

"This is hard to imagine, but it is achievable, successfully working about 98% of the time".

In lab experiments, researchers found that just one touch of the TNT completely repaired the injured legs of lab mice over a three-week period by turning the skin cells of the animals into vascular cells.

A small electric current fires DNA into skin cells to convert them into natural cell building blocks which helps to fix the damaged areas such as arteries and even organs like the heart. By doing so, the device turn the skin cells into other cell types which are required to treat the patient's disease.

Lead author Daniel Gallego-Perez says the new technology comprises two elements: the nanotech chip created to introduce reprogrammed DNA into existing adult cells; and a "specific biological cargo" that induces the cells to change from one type to another. Through this process, the DNA will be converted to the specific building block cells of the damaged body part. It also helped brain-injured mice recover from a stroke.

"The concept is very simple". The team said they were "surprised" it worked so well.

The researchers still wait for FDA approval and for the first time in four years since they started the project, the researchers will be able to test TNT on humans.