Yesterday, the Nobel Assembly decided to present the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2012 jointly to John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka for the discovery that mature, specialised cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent, i.e. immature cells that are capable of developing into all tissues of the body. This finding has revolutionised scientists' understanding of how cells and organisms develop.
Summary of the Experiments
In 1962, John B. Gurdon discovered that the specialisation of cells is reversible. He did so by replacing 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.
Almost 45 years after Gurdon's discovery, Shinya Yamanaka discovered how intact mature cells in mice could be reprogrammed to become immature stem cells. By introducing only a few genes, he reprogrammed mature cells to become pluripotent stem cells, i.e. immature cells that are able to develop into all types of cells in the body.
These discoveries have changed our understanding of cell development and specialisation. Previously, the widespread belief was that mature cells are confined in its specialised state, which, as the studies prove, is not true. This is a big boost for further discoveries in the field of medicine because, by reprogramming human cells, scientists now have the opportunity to study the development of diseases and study methods for diagnosis and therapy. Click here to read a more detailed description of the experiments conducted by the two Nobel laureates.
Learn about discoveries in the field of medicine in Asia by attending the 6th Annual BioPharma Asia Convention in March 2013. There will several research institutes present at the convention and will be showcasing their research to the other attendees. Sign up now to avoid missing this amazing opportunity.
Source: World Pharma News