A new device can reportedly start healing organs in a “fraction of a second,” according to researchers at The Ohio State University.
The technology is called Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT), and can turn cells into other types of cells used to treat diseases, USA Today reports. TNT has the potential to save the lives of car accident victims, as well as deployed soldiers that are injured in the field.
The device is a tiny silicone chip about the size of a dime that “injects genetic code into skin cells, turning those skin cells into other types of cells required for treating diseased conditions,” states a release from the university.
The researchers successfully completed lab tests wherein one touch of TNT repaired the injured legs of mice over the course of three weeks, by changing skin cells into vascular cells.
Chandan Sen, director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine and Cell-Based Therapies, said that now, the technology not only works on skin cells, but can also repair other types of tissue. For example, TNT was able to restore brain function in a mouse who had a stroke by growing brain cells on the mouse’s skin.
This breakthrough technology is the first time cells have been reprogrammed in a live body.
There are cell therapies being used now, but they are high-risk, such as introducing a virus to combat diseases. So far, there are no known side effects from using TNT, and the treatment takes less than a second.
Sen, who has been working on the project for four years, said, “This technology does not require a laboratory or hospital and can actually be executed in the field. It’s less than 100 grams to carry and will have a long shelf life.”
The device is now awaiting FDA approval, but Sen expects that TNT will be tested on humans within this year. “We are proposing the use of skin as an agricultural land where you can essentially grow any cell of interest,” he said.
The study was published in Nature Nanotechnology.