Direct reprogramming is a promising approach for regenerative medicine whereby one cell type is directly converted into another without going through a multipotent or pluripotent stage. This reprogramming approach has been extensively explored for the generation of functional insulin-secreting cells from non-beta-cells with the aim of developing novel cell therapies for the treatment of people with diabetes lacking sufficient endogenous beta-cells. A common approach for such conversion studies is the introduction of key regulators that are important in controlling beta-cell development and maintenance. In this review, we will summarize the recent advances in the field of beta-cell reprogramming and discuss the challenges of creating functional and long-lasting beta-cells.
Keywords: Beta-cells; Cell fate conversion; Developmental regulators; Direct reprogramming.