Neurons have been created directly from skin cells for the first time, in a remarkable study that suggests that our biological makeup is far more versatile than previously thought.
If confirmed, the discovery that one tissue type can be genetically reprogrammed to become another, could revolutionise treatments for conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s, opening up the possibility of turning a patient’s own skin cells into the neurons that they need. […]
The work has been hailed as a huge conceptual leap forward in fundamental biology. “The possibility that cells could be directly reprogrammed is something that people had thought about, but to see it in black and white is still slightly shocking,” said Professor Jack Price, a neurobiologist at King’s College London. “This suggests that there are no great rules — you can reprogramme anything into anything else.”
Times Online: Neuron breakthrough offers hope on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s