Technology that can change skin tissue into blood vessels and nerve cells now shows promise as a treatment for traumatic muscle loss, a study with rats shows.
Tissue nanotransfection is a minimally invasive nanochip device that can reprogram tissue function by applying a harmless electric spark to deliver specific genes in a fraction of a second.
A new study, published in Nature Partner Journals Regenerative Medicine, tested tissue nanotransfection-based gene therapy as a treatment, with the goal of delivering a gene known to be a major driver of muscle repair and regeneration.
The researchers found that muscle function improved when tissue nanotransfection was used as a therapy for seven days following volumetric muscle loss in rats. It is the first study to report that tissue nanotransfection technology can generate muscle tissue and demonstrates its benefit in addressing volumetric muscle loss.
Volumetric muscle loss is the traumatic or surgical loss of skeletal muscle that results in compromised muscle strength and mobility. Incapable of regenerating the amount of lost tissue, the affected muscle undergoes substantial loss of function, thus compromising quality of life. A 20% loss in mass can result in an up to 90% loss in muscle function.
Current clinical treatments for volumetric muscle loss are physical therapy or autologous tissue transfer (using a person’s own tissue), the outcomes of which are promising but call for improved treatment regimens.
“We are encouraged that tissue nanotransfection is emerging as a versatile platform technology for gene delivery, gene editing, and in vivo tissue reprogramming,” says Chandan Sen, professor and associate vice president for research at the Indiana University School of Medicine and director of the Indiana Center for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering.
“This work proves the potential of tissue nanotransfection in muscle tissue, opening up a new avenue of investigational pursuit that should help in addressing traumatic muscle loss. Importantly, it demonstrates the versatility of the tissue nanotransfection technology platform in regenerative medicine.”
So far, tissue nanotransfection has also been achieved in blood vessel and nerve tissue. In addition, recent work has shown that topical tissue nanotransfection can achieve cell-specific gene editing of skin wound tissue to improve wound closure.
Additional coauthors are from Purdue University and Indiana University.
A Department of Defense Discovery Award, the National Institutes of Health, and Lilly Endowment INCITE (Indiana Collaborative Initiative for Talent Enrichment) funded the work.
Source: Indiana University