Nobel prize 2012 goes to Stem Cell Researchers – University of Copenhagen

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08 October 2012

Nobel prize 2012 goes to Stem Cell Researchers

Nobel prize 2012 goes to Stem Cell Researchers

John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka have been awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent cells, i.e. cells with stem cell like characteristics capable of developing into almost all cell types.

The findings of Gurdon and Yamanaka have revolutionized our understanding of how cells and organisms develop, and have significantly impacted and progressed stem cell research. The research conducted at The Danish Stem Cell Center (DanStem) also build on these discoveries.

More than 40 years apart, the two 2012 Nobel Prize Laureates John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka, made breakthrough discoveries showing that mature cells can under certain circumstances return to a stem cell state.
In 1962, Gurdon discovered that mature, specialized cells can be reprogrammed to become immature cells capable of developing into all tissues of the body. Gurdon replaced the cell nucleus of a frog's egg cell with a nucleus from a mature, specialised cell derived from the intestine of a tadpole. The egg developed into a fully functional tadpole. Gurdon’s discovery and the techniques behind it led to the eventual cloning of mammals.

Yamanaka’s research initially focused on embryonic stem cells and on identifying the genes that kept these stem cells immature.
In 2006, his research led to the discovery that intact, mature cells can be reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells – so-called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) by the introduction of 4 transcription factors highly expressed in embryonic stem cells: Oct4, Sox2, Klf4, and c-Myc

The potential of the methods and technologies initially developed by Gurdon and Yamanaka are vast, especially in relation to development of new, stem cell-based cell therapies targeted at curing some severe and chronic diseases.
At DanStem, part of the research is focused on improving the generation of functional cells for stem cell-based cell therapies targeted at type 1 Diabetes and modeling of inherited forms of type 2 Diabetes. The research conducted at DanStem involves both iPS cells and embryonic stem cells.

Nobel Prize research's impact on DanStem - interviews with Henrik Semb (in Danish)

Read more about the Nobel Prize Laureates and their research at: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/2012/press.html

View video of announcement of the prize: http://www.nobelprize.org/mediaplayer/index.php?id=1827

Read more about Stem Cells at: http://danstem.ku.dk/research1/stemcells/

Read more about the research conducted at DanStem at: http://danstem.ku.dk/research1/