This new nanochip technology can reprogram human cells


nanotechnology device on the arm nanochip technology

Researchers demonstrate a process known as tissue nanotransfection at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. In laboratory tests, this process was able to heal the badly injured legs of mice in just three weeks with a single touch of this chip. The technology works by converting normal skin cells into vascular cells, which helped heal the wounds. [Image from Ohio State University]

Ohio State University researchers have developed a nanochip technology that they say can create any cell type for treatment within the human body.

The new technology, called Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT), can repair injured tissue and restore the function of aging tissue like organs, blood vessels and nerve cells.

“By using our novel nanochip technology, injured or compromised organs can be replaced. We have shown that skin is a fertile land where we can grow the elements of any organ that is declining,” said Chandan Sen, director of Ohio State’s Center for Regenerative Medicine and Cell Based Therapies and co-leader on the study, in a press release.

Researchers studied the new TNT technology in mice and pigs. They successfully reprogrammed skin cells to become vascular cells in badly injured legs with a lack of blood flow. After a week, active blood vessels began to appear in the leg and by the second week, the leg had been saved. The TNT technology has also been used to reprogram skin cells in the body to become nerve cells that are injected into mice with brain injuries to help them recover from stroke.

“This is difficult to imagine, but it is achievable, successfully working about 98% of the time. With this technology, we can convert skin cells into elements of any organ with just one touch. This process only takes less than a second and is non-invasive, and then you’re off,” said Sen. “The chip does not stay with you and the reprogramming of the cell starts. Our technology keeps the cells in the body under immune surveillance, so immune suppression is not necessary.”

The TNT technology is a nanotechnology-based chip that is designed to deliver cargo to adult cells in the body. Another component is the design of specific biological cargo for cell conversion. Cargo is delivered by a small electrical charge applied to the device that the patient can barely feel. The cargo is able to convert adult cells to a different type of cell if it is delivered using the chip.

Using TNT technology doesn’t require the need for laboratory-based procedures. It is a non-invasive treatment that can be administered at the point of care.

“The concept is very simple,” said L. James Lee, co-leader on the study and a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering. “As a matter of fact, we were even surprised how it worked so well. In my lab, we have ongoing research trying to understand the mechanism and do even better. So, this is the beginning, more to come.”

The researchers hope to start clinical trials by next year to test the technology in humans.

This researcher was published online in the journal Nature Nanotechnology and was funded by Ohio State’s Center for Regenerative Medicine and Cell-Based Therapies, Ohio State’s Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center and Leslie and Abigail Wexner.

[Want to stay more on top of MDO content? Subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter.]

Want to stay on top of MDO content? Subscribe to our e-newsletter.


  1. Jiri Tiser MD says:

    That ‘ s great: Do you intend to treat human malignant tumours by this method? If yes , how to apply for the trial? Would it be available for overseas patients?

  2. Voina Florina says:


    We are interested in trying this method on a injured leg with blood flow problems. Is it possible as a trial? The perspective is negative in this moment, meaning most probably an amputation, so there is nothing to loose, only to gain. Waiting for your answer by e-mail asap. Thank you!

  3. According to the information provided, human trials for this technology are hoping to start early next year(2018).
    There appears to be many ongoing stem cell regeneration programmes for kidney repair that seem to be hitting the headlines this year from around the globe, including those from Harvard University in the USA, and others from the UK , Australia China and Israel to mention just a few.
    With regards to Tissue Nano transfection (TNT). Do you consider this particular regeneration treatment to the most promising for Kidney repair in the shorter term, especially given it’s apparent non invasive and quite reasonably simple technique?.

Speak Your Mind