This topic is not my usual fare as I am a Space Geek of the highest degree, but it was so cool I just had to share!
There is new device developed at Ohio State University that starts healing your organs (even brain injuries) in mere minutes. Consider stroke injuries – well that was completely repaired and the brain function was restored in a mouse. And that is not it! It can restore any type of tissue.
Current methods are less than desirable, one reason, because they introduce a virus and then complete a bunch of steps in order to possibly help you out. Basically when you have missing or malfunctioning genes you would be given a virus that would carry the genetic cargo into the cells – this was developed because it was ground breaking at the time. Actually the method has been updated to sometimes use what is called Hybrid methods which act via inactive HIV or Influenza virus. There are literally dozens of different viral envelopes for any genetic changes as viruses bind to their host and introduce their genetic material into the host’s replication cycle; thus spreading throughout as quickly as possible. It’s really quite genius and sort of like hacking the body’s mainframe.
But this new ‘breakthrough’ technology is incredibly promising. It breaks down to reprograming cells, live, while the body keeps on living. As a matter of fact, it does not require a hospital, a lab, actually, it can be handled in the field. Good news particularly to those who suffer from strokes as not only would it repair but lessen the amount of damage caused!
So what does the process involve? Well, while it’s not much, it does sound a little futuristic. Take a square chip about the size of a fingernail and place it on the skin. Add a droplet that contains the genetic code. Now, zap it with a power source. All done! This methodology turns skin cells into any type of cell the body needs. This has limitless potential! Think of it – a wounded limb on a soldier in the field but the enemy has them trapped. No problem let the healing begin. A stroke experienced out in the boondocks and far from a hospital. What about repairing a damaged heart?
The technology is known as Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT). To date it has only been utilized on mice. So repair times might differ. For instance injured legs of mice were completely repaired during a three week time frame: Same time frame for restoring brain function in a mouse who had suffered a stroke.
Oh – and it has been used on pigs. Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland they expressed interest and so repeated the leg-healing process but on pigs.
Now you knew this was too good to be true, right? Well, here’s the catch. It must be utilized within 72 hours of the injury. Simple enough, right?
Currently it is waiting on FDA approval but is expected to be tested on humans within the year.
*You know something else that is working out well? Stem cell research. They have been able to take victims who are paralyzed from the neck down and by introducing some stem cells give them back some of their dignity – movement from their arms to their neck. There may be more it can do. Research seems to indicate that it is important when the injury happen. Check it out online!*