Sustainable Energy

Transforming Adult Cells into Stem Cells

Mimicking human disease in a dish.

Slideshow: James Thomson and Junying Yu (above) first transformed adult cells into stem cells called iPS cells in 2007.
Slideshow: Yu, now at Cellular Dynamics, is developing more efficient ways of making the cells, which are the starting ingredient used to make cardiac muscle cells.
Slideshow: A precise combination of chemicals, agitation, and temperature transforms the iPS cells into heart cells (above), which fall to the bottom of the flask when it stops moving (next image).
Slideshow: iPS cells are transformed into heart cells and fall to the bottom of the flask when it stops moving.
Slideshow: Colonies of heart cells beat in sync when grown on a dish.
Slideshow: Five weeks after iPS cells have been thawed, vials of muscle cells are ready to be shipped to customers.

Uh oh–you've read all five of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium

$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Sustainable Energy

Can we sustainably provide food, water, and energy to a growing population during a climate crisis?

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Premium.

  • Insider Premium {! insider.prices.premium !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Our award winning magazine, unlimited access to our story archive, special discounts to MIT Technology Review Events, and exclusive content.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

    Access to the Magazine archive. Over 24,000 articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips.

    Special Discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

    First Look. Exclusive early access to stories.

    Insider Conversations. Join in and ask questions as our editors talk to innovators from around the world.

You've read of free articles this month.