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The Nobel Prize for medicine announced  - Tow winners.

Monday, 08 October 2012
The 2012 Nobel Prize  in Physiology  or Medicine is  awarded to Dr. John B. Gurdon and Dr.     ShinyaYamanaka on Monday morning in Sweden for their work on stem cell research.

The awarding body considered their research, which led to the discovery of discovery that mature, differentiated cells can be reprogrammed to a pluripotent stem  cell state.

This    represents a paradigm    shift in our understanding of cellular differentiation and of the plasticity of the differentiated state, the Nobel institute writes in a press release that accompanies the award.
Cellular differentiation appears as a unidirectional process,  where undifferentiated cells mature to various specialised cell fates, such as neurons, muscle and skin cells.

The prevalent   view during the first half of the 20th  century was that the mature cells were permanently locked into the   differentiated  state,  and unable to return to a fully   immature, pluripotent stem cell state, the report continues.
See detailed description of the research here

The winners

Sir John B. Gurdon was born in 1933 in Dippenhall, UK. He received his Doctorate from the University of Oxford in 1960 and was a postdoctoral fellow at California Institute of Technology. He joined Cambridge University, UK, in 1972 and has served as Professor of Cell Biology and Master of Magdalene College. Gurdon is currently at the Gurdon Institute in Cambridge.

John B. Gurdon discovered in 1962 that the specialisation of cells is reversible. In a classic experiment, he
replaced the immature cell nucleus in an egg cell of a frog with the nucleus from a mature intestinal cell. This modified egg cell developed into a normal tadpole. The DNA of the mature cell still had all the information needed to develop all cells in the frog.

Shinya Yamanaka was born in Osaka, Japan in 1962. He obtained his MD in 1987 at Kobe University and trained as an orthopaedic surgeon before switching to basic research. Yamanaka received his PhD at Osaka University in 1993, after which he worked at the Gladstone Institute in San Francisco and Nara Institute of
Science and Technology in Japan. Yamanaka is currently Professor at Kyoto University and also affiliated with the Gladstone Institute.

Shinya Yamanaka discovered more than 40 years later, in 2006, how intact mature cells in mice could be reprogrammed to become immature stem cells. Surprisingly, by introducing only a few genes, he could reprogram mature cells to become pluripotent stem cells, i.e. immature cells that are able to develop into all types of cells in the body. Team

Related report
Stem cell experts win Nobel prize : BBC

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