Researchers at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, have developed a device that can rescue failing body functions with a single touch.

The technology, known as Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT) is able to do such by injecting “genetic code into skin cells, turning those skin cells into other types of cells required for treating diseased conditions.” TNT has the ability to “repair injured tissue or restore the function of aging tissue, according to the study.

“By using our novel nanochip technology, injured or compromised organs can be replaced,” Dr. Chandan Sen, director of Ohio State’s Center for Regenerative Medicine & Cell Based Therapies, said. “We have shown that skin is a fertile land where we can grow the elements of any organ that is declining.”

In experimenting, with this TNT technology, researchers tested it on mice and pigs. The mice had badly injured legs but within three weeks after a single touch of the chip, researchers found that the animal’s legs were healed. Within a week after being exposed to the chip, active blood vessels were present in the injured leg and by week two the leg was saved. By converting normal skin cells to vascular cells, the device was able to help heal the wounds, the report says.

“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,” Sen said.

How Does It Work?

Essentially, the device works to reprogram your cells and while that may sound a bit scary, researchers say the process in actuality is very simple and non-invasive.

TNT is made up of two major components– one that delivers cargo to adult cells in the live body and another that converts cargo. Cargo is simply delivered by zapping the device with a small electrical charge, which is hardly felt by the patient, the study says.

“The concept is very simple,” L. James Lee, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Ohio State’s College of Engineering, and co-author of the study said. “As a matter of fact, we were even surprised how it worked so well.”

Another simple factor about this treatment is that it can be administered at the point of care and does not require any laboratory-based procedures.

“This process only takes less than a second and is non-invasive, and then you’re off,” Sen said. “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.”

This is a major milestone in technology, as this is the first time cells have been reprogrammed in a live body, USA Today reported. However, current cell therapy methods are high risk. The new procedure is awaiting FDA approval, but Sen who has been working on this for four years expects TNT will be tested on humans within the year, he told USA Today.

The new procedure is awaiting FDA approval. Sen, who has been working on this for four years, told USA Today that he expects TNT will be tested on humans within the year.

Feature Image via Flickr/dxiri

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