Reprogramming, or generation of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells (functionally similar to embryonic stem cells or ES cells) by the use of transcription factors (typically: Oct3/4, Sox2, c-Myc, Klf4) called "Yamanaka factors" (OSKM), has revolutionized regenerative medicine. However, factors used to induce stemness are also overexpressed in cancer. Both, ES cells and iPS cells cause teratoma formation when injected to tissues. This raises a safety concern for therapies based on iPS derivates. Transdifferentiation (lineage reprogramming, or -conversion), is a process in which one mature, specialized cell type changes into another without entering a pluripotent state. This process involves an ectopic expression of transcription factors and/or other stimuli. Unlike in the case of reprogramming, tissues obtained by this method do not carry the risk of subsequent teratomagenesis.
Keywords: Reprogramming; Teratomagenesis; Transdifferentiation; Yamanaka factors; iPS.
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