Turning Human Skin Cells into Functioning Nerve Cells

Scientists at Stanford report that they can turn human skin cells directly into functioning nerve cells in the lab dish. The process does not involve an intermediate step of forming a stem cell, but directly converts skin cells into neurons.

Last year this group showed that they could accomplish this direct conversion with mouse cells. The new results, reported in the journal Nature, accomplish this conversion for the first time with human cells by adding four genes to the skin cells. Other researchers have obtained similar direct conversion results in the formation of blood, heart, and insulin-secreting cells.

The direct conversion technique is similar  Continue reading