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Fast Production Method Increases Stem Cell Yield, Safety

Indirect lineage conversion of human cells has the potential to generate multiple cell lineages in an efficient and safe manner.  

INVENTION: Investigators at the Salk Institute have developed a faster and safer method for the generation of vascular progenitor cells from adult human fibroblasts using non-integrative approaches. This new method bypasses complete reprogramming of adult cells to a pluripotent, embryonic stem cell-like stage, and instead allows for partial de-differentiation to an intermediate progenitor-like multipotent state. These progenitor cells can be generated in approximately 14 days, and are able to generate functional, differentiated cells of the endothelial and smooth muscle lineages. Because of the short differentiation times and absence of progression through a pluripotent state, this method overcomes many of the safety issues associated with using cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) for clinical applications. Due to its superior efficiency and safety, this new method has enormous potential for advancing the development of new drug and cell regeneration therapies.  Figure: Indirect lineage conversion relies on the use of transcription factors associated with pluripotency.  On forced expression, pluripotency-related transcription factors first lead to removal of differentiated marks, creating an unstable state suitable for further differentiation on exposure to appropriate signals.


  • Generation of endothelial and smooth muscle cells
  • Study and treatment of ischemic pathologies
  • Identification of novel drug targets and biomarkers
  • Generation of relevant cell types for mechanism of action studies
  • Cell regeneration therapies


  • Highly efficient
  • Unlimited expansion potential
  • Short differentiation times, ~2 weeks
  • Safer than current methods that require generation of iPSCs
  • Vascular progenitor cells can be efficiently differentiated into functional cells of endothelial and smooth muscle lineages

STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT:   In vitro data and In vivo mouse studies


BACKGROUND: Multipotent vascular progenitor cells hold great potential for clinical applications. Current methods used to generate multipotent vascular progenitor cells have many limitations including inefficient differentiation, limited expansion potential, purity issues, long differentiation times and safety concerns. This new method overcomes many of the barriers that have limited the development of stem cell therapies.

INVENTORS: Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte
PATENT STATUS: US Provisional Application Filed; Nature Methods 2013 Jan:10(1):77-83.
CONTACT: Melissa J. Rodgers, Ph.D., 858.453.4100 x1481,
Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Michelle Booden
Director, Licensing and Intellectual Property
Salk Institute
Canine Stem Cells
Cardiovascular Disease
Cell Culture Media
Cell Lines
Equine Stem Cells
Indirect Lineage Conversion
Induced pluripotent stem cells
Lineage Conversion
Neural Stem Cells
Regenerative Medicine
Stem Cells
Vascular disease
Vascular progenitor cells
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