Brain Cells Made from Urine: Scientist have discovered an uncomplicated technique for turning cells discarded in urine into neurons. Other research typically uses embryonic stem cells, which can be coaxed to grow into just about any cell found in the body, including brain cells. But there are certain risks associated with embryonic stem cells, such as the development of tumors after transplant into a body.
Biologist Duanqing Pei and his colleagues at China's Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health have shown that kidney epithelial cells in urine can be turned into pluripotent stem cells, which can grow into any cell in the body. The scientists reprogrammed the epithelial cells by inserting new genetic information into the them. Then they allowed the cells to grow. In about twelve days — about half the time of other procedures — the pluripotent cells grew into a rosette shape common to neural stem cells. Next, the scientists transplanted the cells into newborn rat brains. Remarkably, the cells did not form tumors and after four weeks had taken on the shape of neurons. via Nature