Back to the future with stem cells
Superpower humble skin cells which can be reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells has been reported. Yamanaka of Kyoto University figured out how to coax a humble skin cell to become a pluripotent stem cell, instead of destroying an embryo to achieve the same result. Some scientists are trying to reproduce this cellular alchemy with small molecules because gene therapies have been plagued by safety concerns on their way to the clinic. Scientists are still trying to determine the connection between the epigenetic enzymes that do the reprogramming chemistry and the four genes that Yamanaka used to reprogram skin cells into induced pluripotent stem cells. By screening chemical libraries, researchers have discovered dozens of small molecules that can cause differentiation into a variety of brain, pancreas, bone, and heart cells.
Everts, S. (2010). Back to the future with stem cells.