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New nanochip reprograms cells in the body to perform different functions

Date: 29.11.2021 

A team of researchers led by Chandan Sen at the Indiana University School of Medicine, is moving a new nanochip device, which can reprogram skin cells in the body to become new blood vessels and nerve cells, out of the prototype phase.

Kredit: Indiana University.Stem cells have great therapeutic potential because they can then be induced to grow into various cells, tissues, and (eventually) organs that will be completely compatible with the patient, eliminating the problem of tissue rejection or finding donors.

Unfortunately, doing this requires complicated laboratory procedures, and, along with many alternatives, can raise certain risks, including giving rise to cancerous cells. Instead, a simpler system is needed that does not require the elaborate steps that stem cell perversion requires.

The IU team's approach is to forgo the laboratory and turn the human body into its own cell programmer using a technology called tissue nano-transfection. This uses a silicon nanochip that has been printed to include channels ending in an array of micro-needles. On top of the chip is a rectangular cargo container, which holds specific genes.

Propelled by a focused electric charge, these genes are introduced to the desired depth in the living tissue and alter the cells, converting the location into a little bioreactor that reprograms the cells to become different kinds of cells or multicellular structures, such as blood vessels or nerves, without the need for elaborate laboratory techniques or hazardous virus transfer systems. Once produced, these cells and tissues can help to repair damage both locally or in other parts of the body, including in the brain.





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