A technology developed by Indiana University School of Medicine researchers that can change skin tissue into blood vessels and nerve cells has also shown promise as a treatment for traumatic muscle loss.
Tissue nanotransfection is a minimally invasive nanochip device that can reprogram tissue behavior using a harmless electrical spark to deliver specific genes in a fraction of a second.
A new study published Nature Partners Journals Regenerative Medicine, tested tissue nanotransfection-based gene therapy as a treatment to deliver a gene known to be a key driver of muscle repair and regeneration. They found that muscle function improved when tissue nanotransfection was used as therapy seven days after muscle loss in rats. This is the first study to report that tissue nanotransfection technology can be used to generate muscle tissue and demonstrates its benefits in preventing bulk muscle loss.
Bulky muscle wasting is a traumatic or surgical loss of skeletal muscle that compromises muscle strength and mobility. Not being able to restore the amount of lost tissue, the affected muscle significantly loses function, thus endangering the quality of life. A 20 percent loss in mass can result in up to a 90 percent loss of muscle function.
Current clinical treatments for bulk muscle loss include physical therapy or autologous tissue transfer (using one’s own tissue), with promising results but requiring 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, associate vice president for research and distinguished professor, Indiana Center for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering. at the IU School of Medicine. “This work demonstrates the potential of tissue nanotransfection in muscle tissue, opening a new avenue of research that should help address traumatic muscle wasting. Importantly, it demonstrates the versatility of the tissue nanotransfection technology platform in regenerative medicine.”
Sen also directs the Regenerative Medicine and Engineering Science Pillar of the IU Precision Health Initiative and is the lead author of the new publication.
The Indiana Center for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering is home to tissue nanotransfection technology for in vivo tissue reprogramming, gene delivery and gene editing. To date, tissue nanotransfection has also been achieved in vascular and neural tissues. In addition, recent work has shown that local tissue nanotransfection 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. It is also supported in part by NIH grant DK128845 and the Lilly Endowment INCITE (Indiana Collaborative Initiative for Talent Enrichment).
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