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Direct Osteoblastic Reprogramming by IGFBP7

Cell therapy in bone tissue engineering has considerable translational potential; however, the limited harvest of osteoblasts and mesenchymal stem cells, and a poor osteogenic potential of isolated patient fibroblasts constrain current approaches. Now, a new study led by Zufu Lu and Hala Zreiqat (University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW, Australia) and published in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine reports an innovative approach that promotes the trans‐differentiation of human fibroblasts into functional osteoblasts using a single naturally bioactive protein, insulin growth factor binding protein‐7 (IGFBP7). The authors of this new study believe that this approach exhibits significant advantages over other commonly used cell sources and will potentially lead to a shift in the current paradigm of bone regenerative medicine.