Get ready to think of TNT in a whole new way that has nothing to do with high explosives.
Tissue Nano Transfection (TNT), is a nanochip technology developed by Ohio State’s Center for Regenerative Medicine and Cell Based Therapies. The nanochip sits on the skin and uses an intense electrical field to deliver specific genes into, say a wound, and can heal it within a few days. And, it can be delivered in one second flat.
It’s a new take on gene therapy — the act of inserting carefully selected DNA into the body to treat a disease — in this instance, TNT’s charge-based strategy delivers DNA straight into cells. The process is non-invasive, and because the reprogrammed cells are already in the patient’s body, immune suppression is not required to make sure the new tissue is not rejected.
In this type of “Star World” technology “injured or compromised organs can be replaced,” says one of the study leaders, Chandan Sen. “We have shown that skin is a fertile land where we can grow the elements of any organ that is declining.”
During tests on mice, researchers were able to use TNT to reprogram skin cells on the outside of injured legs so that a healthy blood flow is established throughout the body. It then becomes vascular cells. Within a week, active blood vessels appeared in the injured legs, and by the second week the injured legs had been saved by TNT.
It even helped mice recover from strokes. Researchers grew brain cells on the skin surface of a mouse, harvested them and then injected them into the brain. After that, it only took a few weeks for brain function to be restored.
The results are impressive and researchers have said the technique has worked 98 percent of the time. They expect TNT to be approved for human trials within a year because the technique only uses the patient’s own cells and no medication. “This technology does not require a laboratory or hospital and can actually be executed in the field,” Sen said. “It’s less than 100 grams to carry and will have a long shelf life.
Just think of the applications for TNT. Brain damage including Alzheimer’s, spinal cord injuries, wounds suffered by soldiers in the field and organ replacements to name just a few.