Without using induced pluripotent stem cells, cartilage cells have been engineered directly from human skin cells by scientists in Japan as a treatment option for people with degenerative joint disease, according to a study published in PLoS ONE. Scientists added reprogramming factors c-Myc and Klf4, plus the gene SOX9, to human skin cells to engineer cartilage cells. Researchers said the new technique is easier than previous methods and requires two months to engineer the cells, half as long as conventional methods.

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