21-Oct-2021 | Market Research Store

A team of researchers at ETH Zurich has eventually discovered a molecular switch that can be triggered by the green beam of light emitted by a smartwatch once implanted. The switch, the scientists implanted in human cells, is associated with a gene regulatory network (GRN). For the prototype, the team embedded the novel molecular switch in HEK 293 cells. Immediately after the exposure to green light, the GRN gets activated and the cells started secreting insulin or other crucial compounds. However, switching off the light turns off the molecular switch and temporarily deactivates the gene regulatory network.

The researchers did not require any sophisticated hardware and program to operate the molecular switch. They turned on the green light just by launching a recently developed app, particularly for the research trials. The latest smartwatch models emit light in the form of pulses that are significantly more effective in retaining the functionality of the gene regulatory network.

Although a biological molecular switch is more intricate, the scientists integrated a molecular complex into the cell membrane and linked it to a connecting piece, which is similar to a railway carriage connection. When a green beam of light falls on a particular component, a specific enzyme detaches and projects towards the nucleus of a cell, where it stimulates an insulin-producing gene. When the smartwatch turns off the green light, a separated portion reconnects with its counterpart embedded in the membrane and deactivates the GRN.

The researchers tested their conceptual discovery on pigs as well as mice by injecting the cultured cells and strapping a watch around their necks. The researchers activated the cascade by turning on the green light through a program installed in the watch. Most watches emit green light, which provides a practical foundation for a prospective application because consumers do not have to purchase a separate device.

The researchers are hoping that this technology will be used in the therapeutic sector. The user's tissues would have to be substituted with the cells being utilized in this prototype. Furthermore, the system has to pass through clinical trials before being commercialized.

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