Nobel Prize to Briton, Japanese for Stem Cell Work
British researcher John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka of Japan won this year’s Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine on Monday for discovering that mature, specialized cells of the body can be reprogrammed into stem cells — a discovery that scientists hope to turn into new treatments.
Scientists want to harness that reprogramming to create replacement tissues for treating diseases like Parkinson’s, diabetes and for studying the roots of diseases in the laboratory.
The prize committee at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute said the discovery has “revolutionized our understanding of how cells and organisms develop.”
Gurdon showed in 1962 — the year Yamanaka was born — that the DNA from specialized cells of frogs, like skin or intestinal cells, could be used to generate new tadpoles. That showed the DNA still had its ability to drive the formation of all cells of the body.