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Stem cells in translation

Stem-cell research is rapidly advancing towards potential therapeutic applications such as tissue and organ replacement, disease modelling and drug testing. This collection of articles published by Nature Publishing Group illustrates progress in bringing stem-cell research to the clinic.

Research Articles provide the latest insights into how cell differentiation can be directed to reconstitute tissues in vitro and into how stem-cell fates could be modulated to promote tissue repair in vivo. The articles also describe stem-cell-based models of disease that increase our understanding of disease onset and progression, providing a tool for drug screening and development.

News and Opinion articles include Reviews and Comments and discuss the potential and limitations of these findings in the context of regenerative medicine, highlighting the technical and regulatory challenges that lie ahead.  This collection also includes a selection of peer-reviewed procedures from Nature Protocols that reflect how advances in stem-cell research are closely linked to the development of methods and techniques. Posters produced by the Nature Reviews Journals, which provide a visual overview of stem-cell-biology topics, can also be accessed and downloaded.

News and Opinion

  • Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology | Review Article

    The use of cultured human pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) to model human diseases has revolutionized the ways in which we study monogenic, multigenic and epigenetic disorders, by overcoming some of the limitations of animal models. PSC-based disease models are generated using various strategies and can be used for the discovery of new drugs and therapies.

    • Yishai Avior
    • , Ido Sagi
    •  &  Nissim Benvenisty
  • Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology | Science and Society

    Advances in the derivation of pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) and their differentiation to specific cell types could have diverse clinical applications. Trounson and DeWitt provide an overview of the progress in using embryonic stem cell and induced PSC derivatives for disease treatment and discuss the potential and limitations of such approaches.

    • Alan Trounson
    •  &  Natalie D. DeWitt
  • Nature Cell Biology | Review Article

    Berninger and colleagues define milestones for in vivo reprogramming and discuss recent developments in reprogramming into pancreatic b-cells and neurons.

    • Christophe Heinrich
    • , Francesca M. Spagnoli
    •  &  Benedikt Berninger
  • Nature Neuroscience | Review Article

    The use of patient-derived stem cells for in vitro neurodegenerative disease modeling has gained much traction in recent years. In this review, the authors examine the potential caveats and pitfalls of stem cell use and highlight insights from the literature that suggest methods for overcoming these difficulties.

    • Jackson Sandoe
    •  &  Kevin Eggan
  • Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology | Review Article

    Worldwide increases in life expectancy have been paralleled by a greater prevalence of chronic and age-associated disorders, particularly of the cardiovascular, neural and metabolic systems. Patient-specific induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells are finding applications in disease modelling, drug testing and drug discovery, thus enabling researchers to undertake studies for treating diseases 'in a dish'.

    • Milena Bellin
    • , Maria C. Marchetto
    • , Fred H. Gage
    •  &  Christine L. Mummery


  • Nature | Letter

    Two drugs, miconazole and clobetasol, have functions that modulate differentiation of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells directly, enhance remyelination, and significantly reduce disease severity in mouse models of multiple sclerosis.

    • Fadi J. Najm
    • , Mayur Madhavan
    • , Anita Zaremba
    • , Elizabeth Shick
    • , Robert T. Karl
    • , Daniel C. Factor
    • , Tyler E. Miller
    • , Zachary S. Nevin
    • , Christopher Kantor
    • , Alex Sargent
    • , Kevin L. Quick
    • , Daniela M. Schlatzer
    • , Hong Tang
    • , Ruben Papoian
    • , Kyle R. Brimacombe
    • , Min Shen
    • , Matthew B. Boxer
    • , Ajit Jadhav
    • , Andrew P. Robinson
    • , Joseph R. Podojil
    • , Stephen D. Miller
    • , Robert H. Miller
    •  &  Paul J. Tesar
  • Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology | Foreword

    J. B. Gurdon introduces this Focus issue by discussing the importance of the discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells 10 years ago and current challenges for the development of cell replacement therapies.

    • J. B. Gurdon
  • Nature Neuroscience | Article

    In this study, the authors show that they can induce the direct conversion of fibroblasts into nociceptor neurons via the expression of only five key transcription factors. They further confirm that these induced neurons are bona fide nociceptors by demonstrating that their expression profiles resemble that of their endogenous counterparts and show that they are responsive to common nociceptor agonists.

    • Brian J Wainger
    • , Elizabeth D Buttermore
    • , Julia T Oliveira
    • , Cassidy Mellin
    • , Seungkyu Lee
    • , Wardiya Afshar Saber
    • , Amy J Wang
    • , Justin K Ichida
    • , Isaac M Chiu
    • , Lee Barrett
    • , Eric A Huebner
    • , Canan Bilgin
    • , Naomi Tsujimoto
    • , Christian Brenneis
    • , Kush Kapur
    • , Lee L Rubin
    • , Kevin Eggan
    •  &  Clifford J Woolf
  • Nature Neuroscience | Article

    In this study, the authors show that expression of Brn3a with Ngn1 or 2 can induce the direct reprogramming of mouse and human fibroblasts into peripheral sensory neurons. They further demonstrate that these neurons exhibit the expression profiles and physiological properties of mature sensory neurons and are responsive to nociceptor agonists.

    • Joel W Blanchard
    • , Kevin T Eade
    • , Attila Szűcs
    • , Valentina Lo Sardo
    • , Rachel K Tsunemoto
    • , Daniel Williams
    • , Pietro Paolo Sanna
    •  &  Kristin K Baldwin
  • Nature | Letter

    Some types of anaemia do not respond to erythropoietin (Epo) treatment because patients do not have sufficient numbers of Epo-sensitive erythroid precursor cells; here, two agonists of PPAR-α are found to synergize with glucocorticoid treatment to promote early erythroid progenitor self-renewal, increasing the production of mature red blood cells in both human and mouse cultures and alleviating anaemia in mouse models.

    • Hsiang-Ying Lee
    • , Xiaofei Gao
    • , M. Inmaculada Barrasa
    • , Hu Li
    • , Russell R. Elmes
    • , Luanne L. Peters
    •  &  Harvey F. Lodish