direct reprogramming

Marius Wernig on why we need many stem cell approaches to new therapies

Last week we blogged about work by Marius Wernig of Stanford University, who has successfully converted human skin into nerves, skipping the step of first converting the cells into embryonic-like iPS cells.

Wernig is quoted in a Nature news story talking about whether the work could replace induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells or embryonic stem cells:

CIRM grantees directly create neuronal stem cells for research and therapies

CIRM grantees at the Scripps Research Institute, University of California, San Diego and Sanford-Burnham Research Institute have taken an intriguing step toward producing neural progenitor cells for research or therapies. The team, led by Sheng Ding who has recently moved to the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco, started with mouse skin cells and converted them directly to an early stage of neural cell. The work was published in the April 26 online issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Human skin cells converted to blood

Over the past two years we've watched a series of scientists shoot down the prevailing idea that one adult cell type cannot be converted into a different adult cell, with researchers directly converting skin cells into insulin-producing cells, nerve cells and heart tissue. (You can see our blog entry on this work here.)
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