A close-up of an NEP nanochannel (Photo: Ohio State University)
A human immune cell inside an NEP reservoir (Photo: Ohio State University)
Each nanochannel electroporation device incorporates two reservoirs joined by a nanoscale channel, too small to be visible in this image (Photo: Ohio State University)
One of the key processes in gene therapy involves taking cells from the patient, injecting a therapeutic genetic material into them, then reintroducing them to the patient’s body and letting them go to work. Unfortunately, getting that material into the cells can be tricky. While larger cells can actually be punctured with a fine needle, most human cells are too small for that approach to be possible. There are also methods of inserting random amounts of material into bulk quantities of cells, but these are inexact. Now, however, scientists at Ohio State University are reporting success with a process known as “nanochannel electroporation” (NEP), in which therapeutic biomolecules are electrically shot into cells.
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