Prior efforts to generate renal epithelial cells in vitro have relied on pluripotent or bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells. A recent publication in Nature Cell Biology describes the generation of induced tubular epithelial cells from fibroblasts, potentially offering a novel platform for personalized drug toxicity screening and in vitro disease modeling. This report serves as a promising proof of principle study and opens future research directions, including the optimization of the reprogramming process, efficient translation to adult human fibroblasts, and the generation of highly specific functional renal cell types.
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