Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Adult stem cell researchers awarded Nobel Prize

John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their pioneering work in adult stem cell research, the Washington Post reports.

Yamanaka was instrumental in the development of induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSC), which act like embryonic stem cells but are created without killing an embryo.  His work built upon animal cloning experiments that Gurdon conducted in 1962.

IPSC technology not only has ethical advantages over embryonic stem cells, but also holds greater promise for patients.  Scientists hope that IPSC technology will one day be used to create custom replacement organs from the patient's own cells.  That would eliminate the risk of organ rejection that plagues both embryo-based treatments and traditional organ transplants.

In short, Gurdon and Yamanaka are responsible for a major scientific development that could render the debate over embryo-destructive research obsolete and save countless lives.  We extend them our congratulations and thanks.

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