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In what researchers consider a major scientific leap, a team at Ohio State University has discovered a new way of turning skin cells into any type of cells the body might need, a technology that has limitless potential, from regenerating a wounded limb to repairing a brain after stroke to healing a damaged heart, suggested the Columbus Dispatch. This breakthrough discovery has occurred way ahead of schedule and has huge implications for kidney repair and regeneration/rejuvenation. Likely, the most exciting aspect of this breakthrough is that it could be tested in humans in as soon as one year.
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The technology, known as Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT), has the potential to save the lives of thousands by treating life-threatening disease including that perhaps of Chronic Kidney Disease and Kidney Failure. The process involves placing a square chip about the size of a dime on the skin, adding a droplet containing genetic code, and zapping it with an energy source. Those skin cells are turned into "other types of cells required for treating diseased conditions," according to a release.
While it has not been tested in humans as of yet, lab tests revealed that one touch of TNT completely repaired injured legs of mice over three weeks by turning skin cells into vascular cells.
This breakthrough technology not only works on skin cells, it can restore any type of tissue, noted Chandan Sen (director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine and Cell-Based Therapies). For instance, the technology restored brain function in a mouse who suffered a stroke by growing brain cells on its skin.
It is the first time cells have been reprogrammed in a live body. Nature Nanotechnology highlighted that, "Current cell therapy methods are high risk." However, while the abbreviated name, TNT, may sound dangerous, this new therapy has no known side effects and treatment is less than a second, Sen said.
This discovery appears to be very promising for the Chronic Kidney Disease Community and rapidly accelerating to human trials. Given FDA approval, Sen, who has been working on this for four years, expects that TNT will be tested on humans within the year. He says he's talking with Walter Reed National Medical Center now.
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