In specialized protein of a certain type of cell

In today’s world, as advancements in scientific fields branch more into the realm of science fiction and further from the constraints of human minds, tissue nanotranfection (TNT) is no exception. The ability to convert cells into other types has raised hopes for regenerating damaged limbs and organs, but existing ex vivo methods are risky, inefficient and have been tried only on laboratory animals. So, lead scientists, Dr. Chandan Sen and Dr. L. James Lee, and their team set out to uncover a safer method. Developed at Ohio State University, TNT is an in vivo procedure that uses a microchip to reprogram skin cells in an infected area to repair injured tissue or restore function of aging tissue, including organs, blood vessels and nerve cells. When zapped with a light electrical jolt, the device shoots extra bits of DNA code from its nanotube arrays directly into tiny pores in the skin. There, the DNA triggers the cells to shed their identity and reprograms them into other cell types that can be harvested to repair damaged organs. Where did this all start? Although tissue transfection itself is a new method of cell reprogramming, the science behind the process is not. The procedure is based on building blocks of ex vivo stem cell therapy. The procedure also builds on the idea in regenerative medicine that even aged bodies are able to produce and integrate health, young cells when given the right “instructions”. All cells start out with the same set of DNA, what type of cell they become depend on the genes activated by a specialized proteins. The goal of stem cell therapy is to give scientists the ability to insert the DNA for specialized protein of a certain type of cell to change its function, transforming the cell into another type. Before tissue nanotransfection, one way to do this was that scientists had to extract cells from a patient, reprogram them into stem cells, inject the cells back into the patient, and wait till the cells have successfully transformed to the desired cell. The other way is to use donor stem cells and inject them into the patient, however the addition of a donor introduces the huge risk of rejection. Although this is being done, and is successful in some cases, it can be painful for patients with many risks because scientists use viruses to transport the DNA to the targeted cells. In experimental trials with animals, this has led to mutations and cancer, and can the procedure can result in misgrowth if the stem cells differentiate with the incorrect type of tissue. It is also controversial whether the stem cells survive in the patients, and whether they actually turn into the healthy cells once injected. As of right now, TNT looks like it is a viable fix to problems, such as the ones mentioned above, related to stem cell therapy.