Well, now you don't have to look any farther than Columbus, Ohio, where researchers from the Wexner Medical Center at the Ohio State University have developed a device capable of repairing organs with a single touch. The device was then put on the skin of the mice, and an electric field applied to trigger changes in the cells' membrane, allowing the genes to enter the cells below.
Within a week, active blood vessels appeared in the injured leg, and by the second week, the leg was saved. "We reprogrammed their skin cells to become vascular cells", Sen said.
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".
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. They would then place a small chip about the size of a cuff link onto the site of the wound. In lab tests, the technology was able to reprogramme skin cells in the live body into nerve cells that were injected into brain-injured mice to help them recover from stroke. As a result, the team found that they were able to convert skin cells directly into vascular cells - with the effect extending deeper into the limb, in effect building a new network of blood vessels. "We have shown that skin is a fertile land where we can grow the elements of any organ that is declining", said study researcher Chandan Sen, from the Center for Regenerative Medicine and Cell-Based Therapies of The Ohio State University.
Because it is the body's own cells that are being converted, the immune system does not attack them and so there is no need for immunosuppressant drugs.
"By using our novel nanochip technology, injured or compromised organs can be replaced", explained Dr. Chandan Sen, one of the leaders of the study.
TNT doesn't require any laboratory-based procedures and may be implemented at the point of care. For a long time researchers have tried to come up with a mechanism that could treat and even fix brain injuries.
The technology is now waiting for FDA approval, but Sen expects the device to enter human trial within the year.