Scientists Win Nobel Prize for the Stem Cell Breakthrough

The scientists from Britain and Japan won Nobel Prize for their revolutionizing discovery of how to reprogram ordinary human cells to behave like embryonic stem cells. The scientists Sir John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka won the prize for Medicine, which was organized by the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.

Guardon, 79, and Yamanaka, 50, shared the prize for their mutual discovery of programming the mature cells of human body to become the immature cells capable of developing into all the tissues of the body, confirmed the Nobel assembly, which consists of 50 professors of Karolinska Institute.

The assembly confirmed that the created tissues will act like embryonic cells, without destroying the embryos in the body.  This discovery will be soon used for treating a multitude of diseases and can be used to regain the body organs by replacing the damaged tissues. “These groundbreaking discoveries have completely changed our view of the development and cellular specialization. We now understand that the mature cell does not have to be confined forever to its specialized state,” the Nobel Assembly said.

These reprogrammed cells are known as induced pluripotent stem cells, or IPS cells.

The research has implementation challenges. Reuters reported that different research groups have noticed problems with iPS cells, suggesting they may not be as good as embryonic ones. In a study, iPS cells died more quickly while another found multiple genetic mutations, raising concerns of causing cancer.

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