M

ore than 10 years after its discovery, a special type of stem cell is being put to the test.

In 2014 scientists in Japan launched the world’s first clinical trials using the cells, called induced pluripotent stem cells, and now scientists in the United States are in the run-up to this country’s first trial. iPS cells, as they are known, start as another type of cell — often blood or skin — before scientists coax them back into becoming stem cells. From there, researchers can then steer them to differentiate into another type of cell, building a vast wave of hope for the cells’ therapeutic potential.

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