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Prog Drug Res. 2011;67:253-66.

Small molecules in cellular reprogramming and differentiation.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Recent advances in somatic cell reprogramming and directed differentiation make it possible to generate patient-specific pluripotent cells and further derive functional tissue-specific cells for biomedical research and future therapies. Chemical compounds targeting enzymes or signaling proteins are powerful tools to regulate and reveal complex cellular processes and have been identified and applied to controlling cell fate and function, including stem cell maintenance, differentiation, and reprogramming. Not only are small molecules useful in generating desired cell types in vitro for various applications, but also such small molecules could be further developed as conventional therapeutics to target patient's own cells residing in different tissues/organs for treating degenerative diseases, injuries, and cancer. Here, we will review recent studies of small molecules in controlling cell fate.

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