Health Highlights: Oct. 8, 2012

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Stem Cell Researchers Receive Nobel Prize

This year's Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine was awarded to two researchers for their work showing that mature, specialized cells can be reprogrammed into stem cells.

The findings by British researcher John Gurdon and Japanese researcher Shinya Yamanaka is being used by scientists to try to find ways to create replacement tissues for treating diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson's, and for laboratory research studying the causes of diseases, the Associated Press reported.

In announcing the award Monday, the prize committee said the two researchers' work "revolutionized our understanding of how cells and organisms develop."

In 1962, Gurdon showed that the DNA from specialized cells of frogs, such as skin or intestinal cells, could be used to generate new tadpoles. The findings showed that DNA still had its ability to drive the formation of all cells of the body, the AP reported.

In 2006, Yamanaka showed that a relatively simple process could turn mature cells back into primitive cells, which in turn could be coaxed into becoming different kinds of mature cells.

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Posted: October 2012


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