Researchers have for the first time reprogrammed human skin cells to a pluripotent state without using viruses, according to twin studies published online today in __Nature__. The approach "is truly epigenetic," linkurl:Richard Young,; a geneticist at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Mass., who was not involved in the research, told __The Scientist__. "You introduce a set of master regulators, they're expressed, they reprogram the cell, and then you successfully remove them from the cell for all time." "It opens up a gate to increased safety for the future use of the cells in cell-based therapies," said linkurl:Andras Nagy,; a stem cell researcher at the Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto and one of the study's lead authors.
Human iPS cells

Image: Kyoto University / AP
In the past few years, researchers have used retroviruses, lentiviruses, adenoviruses, and plasmids to insert reprogramming factors into differentiated cells to create induced pluripotent stem (iPS)...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?