Biomedical Research and Therapy

, 2:8

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Direct reprogramming of somatic cells: an update

  • Phuc Van PhamAffiliated withLaboratory of Stem Cell Research and Application, University of Science, Vietnam National UniversityFaculty of Biology, University of Science, Vietnam National University Email author 


Direct epigenetic reprogramming is a technique that converts a differentiated adult cell into another differentiated cell—such fibroblasts to cardiomyocytes—without passage through an undifferentiated pluripotent stage. This novel technology is opening doors in biological research and regenerative medicine. Some preliminary studies about direct reprogramming started in the 1980s when differentiated adult cells could be converted into other differentiated cells by overexpressing transcription-factor genes. These studies also showed that differentiated cells have plasticity. Direct reprogramming can be a powerful tool in biological research and regenerative medicine, especially the new frontier of personalized medicine. This review aims to summarize all direct reprogramming studies of somatic cells by master control genes as well as potential applications of these techniques in research and treatment of selected human diseases.

Direct reprogramming Gene over-expression Induced pluripotent stem cells Stem cell technology Trans-differentiation