. Generation of integration-free neural progenitor cells from cells in human urine. Nat Methods. 2012 Dec 9; PubMed.


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  1. This is an interesting paper, and certainly represents an advance in generating human neuronal progenitor cells (NPCs). The data are very convincing. It will be of interest to see if the oligodendrocytes are functional. Compared to previous attempts of generating human NPCs (Ring et al., 2012; Lujan et al., 2012), I see two attractive aspects in this paper: First is the use of human urine epithelial-like cells, which offers enormous advantages because this is probably the most non-invasive method of obtaining human cells; second is the integration-free system for generating neuroprogenitor cells, which contrasts with previous attempts that used viral-mediated gene transfer. The system seems to be very efficient, and it will offer an alternative method to generate human neurons and glial cells that will be useful for understanding the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.


    . Direct reprogramming of mouse and human fibroblasts into multipotent neural stem cells with a single factor. Cell Stem Cell. 2012 Jul 6;11(1):100-9. PubMed.

    . Direct conversion of mouse fibroblasts to self-renewing, tripotent neural precursor cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Feb 14;109(7):2527-32. PubMed.

  2. It is great that urine epithelium cells can be used to generate NPCs. This once again shows that solutions lie in simple things.

    It may have potential impact on Alzheimer's treatment.

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  1. Waste Not, Want Not—Making Human Neurons From Urine