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Research Field Cell & gene therapy, Neuroscience

Changing the Leopard’s Spots

A new transdifferentiation protocol has yielded 60 percent dopaminergic neurons from human fibroblasts after 10 days. The conversion rate achieved by the researchers from the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Buffalo, USA, is a substantial improvement on the five percent in 15–20 days attained via other methods.

Previous studies had found that attenuating the p53 pathway made it much easier to generate induced pluripotent stem cells. “This inspired us to find out whether knocking down p53 would have an effect on transdifferentiation,” says Jian Feng, lead author of the study. “And to our surprise, it did.”

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About the Author

James Strachan

Over the course of my Biomedical Sciences degree it dawned on me that my goal of becoming a scientist didn’t quite mesh with my lack of affinity for lab work. Thinking on my decision to pursue biology rather than English at age 15 – despite an aptitude for the latter – I realized that science writing was a way to combine what I loved with what I was good at.
From there I set out to gather as much freelancing experience as I could, spending 2 years developing scientific content for International Innovation, before completing an MSc in Science Communication. After gaining invaluable experience in supporting the communications efforts of CERN and IN-PART, I joined Texere – where I am focused on producing consistently engaging, cutting-edge and innovative content for our specialist audiences around the world.

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