Nanotransfection Device for Tissue Reprogramming In Situ

Genetic modification offers enormous potential to treat a wide variety of conditions, but the devil is in the details. Previously explored methods of introducing genes into cells, such as the use of viral vectors, have been linked to safety concerns. As such, the potential of gene therapy has yet to be fully realized. Advances in technology may offer us safer and more effective ways of introducing genes into the body.

To that end, the Indiana University researchers created a silicon nanochip that can transport genetic material to the skin. The device is designed to reprogram tissue within the skin to produce cells and desired tissue structures, such as blood vessels to treat local ischemia or nerve cells to address a neurological deficit caused by nerve damage. The chip is applied to the skin and uses an electrical charge to propel genetic material into the tissue through hollow microneedles.

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“This little silicon chip enables nanotechnology that can change the function of living body parts,” said Chandan Sen, a leader in the development of the new chip. “For example, if someone’s blood vessels were damaged due to a traffic accident and they need a blood supply, we can no longer depend on the pre-existing blood vessel because it is crushed, but we can convert the skin tissue into blood vessels and rescue the limb at risk “.

The electrical charge applied by the device creates nanopores in the treated skin cells, allowing genetic material to enter without viral vectors and avoiding any safety concerns associated with the virus. The whole process takes just 30 minutes, and so far researchers have tested the technology in mice, showing that it can affect gene expression in treated skin.

In this latest article on the system, the researchers present standardized fabrication techniques that will allow for reproducible fabrication of the device. “This report on how exactly to produce these tissue nanotransfection chips will allow other researchers to participate in this new development of regenerative medicine,” Sen said.

The technology may be useful for delivering a wide variety of agents, including drugs and proteins, and until now, researchers have proposed that it could deliver agents to stimulate bone growth, blood vessel formation, nerve growth, muscle growth. and even anti-tumor. agents.

Here’s a video from Indiana University on the new technology:

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To study in Nature protocols: Fabrication and Use of Silicone Hollow Needle Arrays to Achieve Tissue Nanotransfection in Mouse Tissue Live

Via: Indiana University

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