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Any organ can be healed using a single touch by a new device. Pixabay
  • The device called Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT) does not require any laboratory-based procedures and may be implemented at the point of care
  • It instantly delivers new DNA or RNA into living skin cells to change their function
  • The team conducted experiments on mice and pigs, where they reprogrammed skin cells to become vascular cells in badly injured legs that lacked blood flow

August 9, 2017: Researchers, led by one of the Indian-origin, have developed a new device that can non-invasively convert skin cells into elements of any organ with a single touch, a finding that may help repair injured tissues, blood vessels, and nerves.The device called Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT) does not require any laboratory-based procedures and may be implemented at the point of care.

It instantly delivers new DNA or RNA into living skin cells to change their function, with a small electrical charge that’s barely felt by the patient, thus aiding the speedy repair of injured tissue as well as restoring the function of ageing tissue, including organs.

“With this nano chip 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. The chip does not stay with you, and the reprogramming of the cell starts,” said Chandan Sen, Director at The Ohio State University in the US.


For the study, published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, the team conducted experiments on mice and pigs, where they reprogrammed skin cells to become vascular cells in badly injured legs that lacked blood flow. Within one week, active blood vessels appeared on the injured leg and by the second week, the leg was saved.

In lab tests, the technology was also shown to reprogram skin cells in the live body into nerve cells that were injected into brain-injured mice to help them recover from the stroke, the researchers said.

“This is difficult to imagine, but it is achievable, successfully working about 98 per cent of the time,” Sen said, adding the researchers plan to start clinical trials next year in humans. (IANS)


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NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has for the first time spotted signs of a planet transiting a star outside of the Milky Way galaxy, opening up a new avenue to search for exoplanets at greater distances than ever before.

The possible exoplanet -- or planets outside of our Solar System -- candidate is located in the spiral galaxy Messier 51 (M51), also called the Whirlpool Galaxy because of its distinctive profile, NASA said in a statement.

Astronomers have, so far, found all other known exoplanets and exoplanet candidates in the Milky Way galaxy, almost all of them less than about 3,000 light-years from Earth.

An exoplanet in M51 would be about 28 million light-years away, meaning it would be thousands of times farther away than those in the Milky Way, NASA said.

"We are trying to open up a whole new arena for finding other worlds by searching for planet candidates at X-ray wavelengths, a strategy that makes it possible to discover them in other galaxies," said Rosanne Di Stefano of the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard and Smithsonian (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who led the study.

The findings are published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

The exoplanet candidate was spotted in a binary system called M51-ULS-1, located in M51. This binary system contains a black hole or neutron star orbiting a companion star with a mass about 20 times that of the Sun. The X-ray transit they found using Chandra data lasted about three hours, during which the X-ray emission decreased to zero.

Based on this and other information, the team estimates the exoplanet candidate in M51-ULS-1 would be roughly the size of Saturn and orbit the neutron star or black hole at about twice the distance of Saturn from the Sun.

The team looked for X-ray transits in three galaxies beyond the Milky Way galaxy, using both Chandra and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton. Their search covered 55 systems in M51, 64 systems in Messier 101 (the "Pinwheel" galaxy), and 119 systems in Messier 104 (the "Sombrero" galaxy).

However, more data would be needed to verify the interpretation as an extragalactic exoplanet. One challenge is that the planet candidate's large orbit means it would not cross in front of its binary partner again for about 70 years, thwarting any attempts for a confirming observation for decades, NASA said.

Named in honor of the late Indian-American Nobel laureate, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the Chandra X-ray Observatory is the world's most powerful X-ray telescope. It has eight times greater resolution and is able to detect sources more than 20-times fainter than any previous X-ray telescope.

Known to the world as Chandra (which means "moon" or "luminous" in Sanskrit), Chandrasekhar was widely regarded as one of the foremost astrophysicists of the twentieth century. (IANS/JB)


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