Science  13 Sep 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6151, pp. 1157
  1. Reprogramming Cells in Vivo

    Researchers have discovered an unexpectedly effective way of "reprogramming" mature mouse cells into an embryolike state, able to become any of the body's cell types: Let the transformation happen in a living animal. In culture dishes, ramping up the expression of just four genes can turn skin and other cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Researchers in Spain have now developed transgenic mice in which a drug can turn on the four reprogramming genes in all the animals' cells.

    The first attempts to induce reprogramming killed the animals within days, the scientists report in Nature this week; a lower dose of the drug was not immediately lethal, but the animals developed teratomas, tumors that arise from embryolike cells. Some of the tumors included placental cells—a type of cell that iPSCs and embryonic stem cells can't produce. Finding out why cells reprogrammed in vivo can generate additional cell types could provide new clues to how the process works, and perhaps help it be used in regenerative medicine.

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