Scientists Can Now Hack Your Body's Cell Network

Illustration for article titled Scientists Can Now Hack Your Bodys Cell Network

You've probably got a cell phone in your pocket, but a new discovery by Swiss researches could put one under your skin. By modifying cells' reaction to certain genes and enzymes, the researchers were able to make them communicate and exchange information. Kind of like if they were on the phone. You know, a cell phone.

It works like this: cell number one gets a little molecular implant, which makes it start producing an enzyme. This enzyme is then sent to cell number two. Cell number two then starts producing its own enzyme that basically says "Message received. I got it dude" which goes back to the first. And when that gets to cell number one, they both "hang up" and stop producing enzymes.

Naturally, your cells already talk to each other, but being able to control the process is a big step. Such a thing has been done with simpler yeast cells, but the ability to do it with mammalian ones means that someday it might be possible to fix malfunctioning connections in diseased tissue by cold-calling them with man-made messages. These communication pairs are also modular, so they can be built out into bigger and bigger networks. It's a promising technology, so long as those cells have good data plans. [PhysOrg via Geekosystem]


Image by Dimarion/Shutterstock

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Danny Steiger

"It's a promising technology, so long as those cells have good data plans." First they'll start capping the data plans, and next thing you know they'll be roping you into some ill-conceived shared data plan... progress is wonderful, isn't it?