Writing in the journal Nature Methods, scientists from Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health, part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that they were able to reprogram the urine cells to become neural cells without passing through pluripotency. They did this with a clever technique which did not involve shuttling genes from genetically engineered viruses into the target cell. This seems to result in harmful mutations.
The report states that "eprogram epithelial-like cells from human urine into NPCs (hUiNPCs). These transgene-free hUiNPCs can self-renew and can differentiate into multiple functional neuronal subtypes and glial cells in vitro. Although functional in vivo analysis is still needed, we report that the cells survive and differentiate upon transplant into newborn rat brain.