It initially sounds like an extremely ambitious approach: Researchers at Indiana University want to provide tissue in the body of people who are still alive with new tasks. It would be conceivable, for example, to create either nerve cells or blood vessels from skin tissue. The latter could be useful in the case of serious accidents, for example. Some limbs have to be amputated because they can no longer be properly supplied due to crushed blood vessels. In the future, skin tissue could then be converted there so that the supply becomes possible again. This trick has even worked in the researchers’ laboratory – if only with a mouse. The experiments carried out so far have been so successful that the scientists involved assume that the nano-chip they have developed can actually reprogram human tissue. A corresponding technical article was published in the journal Nature Protocols.
Harmless electrical sparks transmit the required genes
The newly developed nano-chip also has the advantage that it can be used non-invasively. So no major operations are necessary to reprogram the tissue. Instead, the genes required to transmit information are transmitted using safe electrical sparks. So far, the researchers have always worked with prototypes in their experiments, which have been continuously developed. Work is now being carried out on a standardized process for the production of larger quantities. This is to ensure that all nano-chips do their job as intended. The scientists have also announced that they will publish all relevant information. Experts can then recreate the chip within a few days. In this way, the greatest possible dissemination should be promoted. Ultimately, the new development could also be used globally very quickly.
Even brain damage could be repaired this way
The prerequisite for this is official approval by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States. This is currently checking the submitted documents. If the officials then give their consent, clinical studies on human subjects could then begin in a timely manner. Because the new nano-chip not only helps with acute injuries as a result of accidents. Rather, the researchers hope to be able to heal nerve damage as a result of diabetes in this way. Brain damage caused by a stroke could also be repaired in this way. The possible uses are basically extremely diverse. However, approval procedures for novel medical therapies are often very lengthy and fraught with some uncertainties. On the other hand, important breakthroughs in basic research often result in numerous other possible applications over time.