People are so busy working on eliminating genes that are necessary for inducible pluripotent cell (iPS) production. The less, the better! We were so excited to see this “4-way” cocktail to be stripped to a single component, Oct4, to drive neuronal crest cells to pluripotent cell in mice and human (pdf ).
Given extremely low efficiency of iPS induction, any improvement on the method is regarded as a huge leap for this technology. Plus or minus, it’s the problem. Yamanaka  and 4 other groups  found if p53 pathway is screwed up on top of their home-made “4-way” cocktail and cells are released from immortalilzation restriction, iPS induction efficiency increased by 100-fold. Whoa!! And they all get Nature publications. Whoa!!!
But, guys, let’s sit back and stay cool. Actually, increased induction efficiency of iPS by inactivating p53 is a trade-off of DNA integrity. In like manner, handicapping INK4 (p16)/ARF gave similar boosting for iPS induction efficiency and speed . As p53 works as a loyal guardian for DNA damage, inactivating p53 can also make induction of iPS from suboptimal cells , such as older cell and DNA-damage preloaded cell, possible.
One day, we’ll be confront with a common dilemma: cardiac disease or cancer, Alzheimer’s disease or cancer, spinal injury or cancer, to die soon or quick, to be or not to be…