A silicon device that can change skin tissue into blood vessels and nerve cells has advanced from prototype to standardized fabrication, meaning it can now be made in a consistent, reproducible way. As reported in Nature Protocols, this work, developed by researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine, takes the device one step closer to potential use as a treatment for people with a variety of health concerns.
The technology, called tissue nanotransfection, is a non-invasive nanochip device that can reprogram tissue function by applying a harmless electric spark to deliver specific genes in a fraction of a second. In laboratory studies, the device successfully converted skin tissue into blood vessels to repair a badly injured leg. The technology is currently being used to reprogram tissue for different kinds of therapies, such as repairing brain damage caused by stroke or preventing and reversing nerve damage caused by diabetes.