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

mates, leading to the landmark 1998 isolation and growth in culture of the first line of human ES cells. The ES cell lines he developed remain in use today in research labs throughout the world, and his own lab remains a leader in their application, including the development of new approaches to genetically manipulate these cells.

According to Robert Golden, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, "Dr. Thomson's work over the last decade has been integral to establishing human ES cells and human iPS cells as standard model systems for understanding the development and function of the human body both in terms of its composite systems and as an integrated whole."

Prior to the discovery of iPS cells, Dr. Yamanaka, who trained in Japan as an orthopedic surgeon, had worked on embryonic stem cells for a decade, which led him to his research of nuclear reprogramming of somatic cells. In 2006, to the surprise of the scientific community, he reported that he had genetically re-programmed adult cells in mice into an embryonic state. That was followed by the 2007 discovery of human iPS cells, which he produced using human skin cells.

Currently, Dr. Yamanaka is collaborating with other researchers in Japan to develop a method for iPS cell generation that would be safe for therapeutic use, including conducting safety testing of iPS cell-based treatments in a primate model of disease; preparing for the establishment of an iPS cell bank; and studying pathology and drug screening using disease-specific iPS cell lines.

"The growth of activity in the field since the initial discovery less than three years ago is staggering and there is no question that reprogramming technology is set to revolutionize basic biological investigations; the understanding of disease mechanisms; and the development of new, safe and effective therapeutics and future stem cell-based therapies," said Robert W. Mahley, M.D., Ph.
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SOURCE Albany Medical Center
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