A technology developed by researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine that can transform skin tissue into blood vessels and nerve cells has also shown promise as a treatment for traumatic muscle loss.
Tissue nanotransfer is a minimally invasive nanochip device that can reprogram tissue function by applying a harmless electrical spark to deliver specific genes in a fraction of a second.
A new study, published in Nature Partner Journals of Regenerative Medicine, testing gene therapy based on tissue nanotransfection as a treatment, with the aim of delivering a gene known to be a key driver of muscle repair and regeneration. They found that muscle function improved when tissue nanotransfers were used as therapy for seven days after volumetric muscle loss in rats. It is the first study to report that tissue nanotransfer technology can be used to generate muscle tissue and demonstrates its benefit in combating volumetric muscle loss.
Volumetric muscle wasting is a traumatic or surgical loss of skeletal muscle that compromises muscle strength and mobility. Unable to regenerate the amount of lost tissue, the affected muscle undergoes a significant loss of function, affecting quality of life. A 20 percent loss in mass can lead to a loss of up to 90 percent in muscle function.
Current clinical treatments for volumetric muscle loss are physical therapy or autologous tissue transfer (using one’s own tissue), which have promising results but require improved treatment regimens.
“We are encouraged that tissue nanotransfection is emerging as a versatile platform technology for gene delivery, gene editing and tissue reprogramming in vivo,” said Chandan Sen, director of the Indiana Center for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering, associate vice president for research and Distinguished Professor. at the IU School of Medicine. “This work proves the potential of tissue nanotransfection in muscle tissue, opening up a new avenue of investigation that should help combat traumatic muscle loss. It is important, it shows the flexibility of the tissue nanotransfection technology platform in medicine regenerative.”
Sen also leads the regenerative medicine and engineering scientific pillar of the IU Precision Health Initiative and is the lead author of the new publication.
The Indiana Center for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering has the nanotissue transfer technology for in vivo tissue reprogramming, gene delivery and gene editing. To date, tissue nanotransfection has also been achieved in blood vessels and nerve tissues. In addition, recent work has shown that topical tissue nanotransduction can achieve cell-specific gene editing of skin wound tissue to improve wound closure.
Other study authors include Andrew Clark, Subhadip Ghatak, Poornachander Reddy Guda, Mohamed S. El Masry and Yi Xuan, all of IU, and Amy Y. Sato and Teresita Bellido of Purdue University.
This work was supported by Department of Defense Discovery Award W81XWH-20-1-251. Also supported by NIH grant DK128845 and Lilly Endowment INCITE (Indiana Collaborative Initiative for Talent Enrichment).
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