This question is part of the following Ask The Expert session:
Small molecules are being increasingly used in exploring the differentiation ability of iPSCs. While several advances have been made in recent years, this approach has more to offer in the future and certainly holds a great promise for stem cell research. Advantages of using small molecules for differentiation of iPSCs include: their ability to swap growth factor pathways, increased stability in liquid formats decreasing GMP and regulatory hurdles, and finally they tend to be less expensive when compared to growth factors.
The following articles may be of interest to assess the increasing role of small molecules in understanding stem cell biology:
a. Chemical approaches to stem cell biology and therapeutics. – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24012368
Li W, Li K, Wei W, Ding S.
Cell Stem Cell. 2013 Sep 5;13(3):270-83. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2013.08.002. Review.
b. Small molecules, big roles — the chemical manipulation of stem cell fate and somatic cell reprogramming. – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23420199
Zhang Y, Li W, Laurent T, Ding S.
J Cell Sci. 2012 Dec 1;125(Pt 23):5609-20. doi: 10.1242/jcs.096032. Review