Yamanaka's discovery not only obviated the many of the restrictions on stem cell research by eliminating the use of human embryos," said Deepak Srivastava, MD, GICD director, "but it fundamentally altered the way we think about how cells can alter their state so dramatically with a skin cell ultimately turning into a beating heart cell."
Since Yamanaka's discovery, both he and other scientists have learned more efficient ways to make iPS cells and have used them to create other types of cells including neurons, heart cells etc. Many have made iPS cells from patients with disease and hope to use these human cells to model the disease, so that new drug therapies could be discovered to alleviate human suffering.
"The technology is for patients," Yamanaka said, "and the more scientists build on this technology, the faster we will impact those who live with chronic or life-threatening disease."
"Dr. Yamanaka's work has, in a very short time, changed stem cell research from a very early stage experimental process to a field where we can see very real potential of repairing damaged hearts, spinal cords or curing certain diseases, like diabetes," said Gladstone president Robert W. Mahley, MD, PhD.
"That his achievement is being recognized by the Lasker Foundation underscores the pace at which this field is now moving forward."
With 76 prior Lasker laureates going on to receive the Nobel Prize, the award is recognized as a precursor to earning that honor. Yamanaka has already received the Shaw Prize which is seen as the "Asian" Nobel and the Gairdner Award which is known as the "Baby Nobel."
|Contact: Valerie Tucker|