Oct 8, 2012
The Nobel Prize recognizes two scientists who discovered that mature, specialised cells can be reprogrammed to become immature cells capable of developing into all tissues of the body. Their findings have revolutionised our understanding of how cells and organisms develop.
John B. Gurdon discovered in 1962 that the specialisation of cells is reversible. Shinya Yamanaka discovered more than 40 years later, in 2006, how intact mature cells in mice could be reprogrammed to become immature stem cells.
These discoveries completely changed our view of the development and cellular specialisation. We now understand that mature cells are not fixed in their specialised state. By reprogramming human cells, scientists have created new opportunities to study diseases and develop methods for diagnosis and therapy.