Scientists say they have caused one type of cell to become another -- with no intermediate step using controversial stem cells -- which could have long-term impact in treating diabetes and other diseases.

A story we spotted on the website says the development raises "the much-anticipated possibility of replacing disease-damaged and age-ravaged organs and tissues."

"This represents a parallel approach for how to make cells in regenerative medicine," said Douglas Melton, co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. "And now that it's shown that you can turn one of your cells into another, it makes you think of what other cells you'd like to convert. . . . Neurodegenerative diseases come to mind, as does cardiovascular disease," said Melton.

Details of the research were published in the journal Nature today.