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Leaders in Stem Cell Research and Discovery to Share America's Most Distinguished Prize in Medicine
Date:3/16/2011

basis for new discoveries being made every day. We commend these three pioneers and honor them for their extraordinary contributions."

The Albany Medical Center Prize was established in 2000 by the late Morris "Marty" Silverman to honor scientists whose work has "demonstrated significant outcomes that offer medical value of national or international importance." A $50 million gift commitment from the Marty and Dorothy Silverman Foundation provides for the prize to be awarded annually for 100 years.

Collectively, the work of Drs. Fuchs, Thomson, and Yamanaka has paved the way toward realizing the vast potential of stem cells to treat or reverse diseases and conditions, as well as to help society better understand how human tissues develop and function. Known as "regenerative science," the science of stem cell research focuses on the earliest stage of cellular development. Also called pluripotent or "blank slate" cells, these remarkable cells have the ability to become any tissue in the body and to reproduce indefinitely. Harnessing the power of these cells is the goal of researchers seeking to someday build new spinal cord cells or even grow new limbs.

Drs. Yamanaka and Thomson are credited with discovering how to genetically re-program adult human cells back to an embryonic state. These so-called iPS (induced pluripotent stem) cells, which share nearly all the characteristics of embryonic stem cells (ES), also can be made in limitless supply. This discovery, made separately in each researcher's lab and reported in 2007, was hailed as a major scientific breakthrough. These cell lines are now used in laboratories worldwide and promise to speed the progress of stem cell research by offering a complementary or alternative approach to using actual embryonic stem cells.

Before his success with iPS cells, Dr. Thomson was already a leader in the field of stem cell research. In the early 1990s, his laboratory derived embryonic stem cells from pri
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SOURCE Albany Medical Center
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