Jerusalem, June 20, 2010 -- World-recognized discoveries in the study and manipulation of human embryonic stem cells have won first prize in a prestigious applied research competition for a Hebrew University of Jerusalem researcher.
For his work in this field, Prof. Nissim Benvenisty of the Silberman Institute of Life Sciences was presented with a Kaye Innovation Award in June during the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Board of Governors 73rd meeting.
Benvenisty and his research team were the first in the world to demonstrate in vitro differentiation of human embryonic stem (ES) cells, and to achieve the first directed differentiation and the first genetic manipulation of these cells. Their work has led to a patent on the directed differentiation of human embryonic stem cells and is at the center of industrial use of this research, aimed primarily at developing a stem cell based approach for battling type 1 diabetes. :
A pluripotent (developmentally undefined) cell that may differentiate in culture to all cell types is the "holy grail" of the study of cellular differentiation and of cell-based therapy.
Human embryonic stem (ES) cells may give rise to many cell types of the body, such as nerve, muscle, liver, heart and blood, and thus they hold the promise to change the face of transplantation medicine. These cells may be able to play a vital role in the therapy of a large number of diseases, such as Parkinson's, diabetes, liver cirrhosis, cardiac failure, and others.
Benvenisty's laboratory has made, over the years, significant discoveries in the field, showing for the first time, among other things, in vitro differentiation of human ES cells and generation of embryoid bodies aggregates of cells derived from embryonic stem cells. They also have been able to induce differentiation of the ES cells by placing them next to a developing tissue in a chick.
Benvenisty cautions that the issue of transplantati
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The Hebrew University of Jerusalem