Your cells could be reprogrammed to regenerate themselves. Researchers have found a way to restore injured mouse legs and claim the technique is safe enough to begin test on humans.

Researchers have found a way to reprogrammed cells using a mix of DNA, RNA, and protein and then use viruses as a delivery vehicle. Researchers use bulk electroporation that exposes entire cells to an electric field that pokes holes in the membrane of the cell to let in genetic material and proteins. Still, this process can stress or kill the cells that are targeted, leaving only a tiny proportion that is converted into the desired cell type.

But that was a year ago.

Recently, further development into regenerating damage parts of the body have come to light. Researchers say that for the first time, they have been able to convert skin cells into pluripotent stem cells.

The team reportedly used a type of CRISPRa gene-editing technology that does not cut DNA and can activate gene expression without mutating the genome. Only till recently reprogramming has only been possible by introducing the critical genes for the conversion, called Yamanaka factors, artificially into skin cells where they are generally not active.

CRISPR is an attractive tool for cellular reprogramming applications due to its high multiplexing capacity and direct targeting of endogenous location. The data showed that human somatic cells could be reprogrammed into iPSCs using only CRISPRa.

This is important for cellular reprogramming because multiple genes can be targeted at the same time. Reprogramming based on the activation of endogenous genes rather than the overexpression of transgenesis also theoretically a more physiological way of controlling cell fate and may result in more normal cells.

The discovery suggests that it might be possible to improve on other reprogramming tasks by addressing the genetic elements typical of the intended target cell type.

What this all means is that we are one step closer to understanding how the human body works and it’s ability to health itself.

Here’s another video on how the technology is moving forward.

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