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August 25, 2017

Chip Device Heals Injuries In Seconds

By Angelina Gibson

Picture this - you suffer a car accident and your leg is broken. Within moments a small chip-like silicone device is placed on the broken leg - it reprograms the skin cells beneath and treats the injury - in a matter of seconds. 

Sounds like the stuff of science fiction, right? Nope. This is real-life, folks!

A new non-invasive technology - Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT) - has been developed by researchers at Ohio State University to reprogram and grow skin cells directly on the body. The device delivers genes to skin cells by passing a strong electrical current through the chip and transforming the cells. 

In lab studies on mice, the tiny device has successfully reprogrammed and grown cells - healing injured parts of the body - from broken bones to brain damage. 

This is the first time cells have been reprogrammed on a live body. 

The torn arteries in a mouse’s broken leg were healed after touching TNT - it turned the skin cells into vascular cells - healing the leg completely within 3 weeks. 

According to Chandan Sen, Director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine and Cell-Based Therapies, its ability to heal goes beyond skin injuries - when tested on a mouse suffering from brain damage due to stroke - the device successfully treated the brain cells. 

Sen states, “we are proposing the use of skin as an agricultural land where you can essentially grow any cell of interest.” He has spent the past four years working on the technology and is in talks with Walter Reed National Medical Center to start testing on humans within the next year. 

The tiny device is easy to use and weighs less than 100 grams.  “This technology does not require a laboratory or hospital and can actually be executed in the field,” Sen said. While current cell therapies are high risk and use stem cells or viruses to change the function of cells- TNT has no known side effects and is much more efficient. 

Currently, TNT can only be used on the skin - researchers continue to refine the device to heal other parts of the body. 

The technology is pending FDA approval. 

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