During the initial testing phase, researchers were able to reprogram skin cells into vascular cells on a mouse that had a badly injured leg with no blood flow. Within one week active blood vessels appeared around the leg and within two weeks the leg had been completely restored. A mouse that had suffered a stroke was also saved, suggesting this technology can be applied to organs and nerve cells, as well as tissue. It's the first time cells have been reprogrammed in a live body.
The technology weighs less than 100 grams and has a long shelf life. It's completely non-invasive -- the genetic code is delivered by zapping the device with a small electrical charge that's barely felt by the patient -- and the procedure can be carried out without access to a lab or hospital. This means it will have a significant impact on the lives of those involved in medical emergencies where time is a crucial factor, such as car crash victims and soldiers injured in the field. It's still waiting for FDA approval, but researchers expect testing on humans to start within the year.