Elisabeth Manville
Apr 11, 2012

Scientists directly convert skin and umbilical cord cells to nerve cells

Scientists from the Bonn Institute of Reconstructive Neurobiology at the University of Bonn have directly converted human skin and umbilical cord cells into nerve cells. Previously, skin cells could be converted into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS), which are ‘multipurpose’ cells from which all body cells could be produced. This new technique, however, effectively cuts out the middleman. Initial success at directly converting skin cells to induced neuron (iN) cells only yielded small amounts of the neuron cells. This led Bonn research team to use low-molecular active substance to optimize the process. The new technique can produce two nerve cells for every skin cell. The original press release in German can be found here, and an English translation here.