A Ministry of Science and Technology official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, revealed that Nobel prize awardee Shinya Yamanaka will be receiving up to $383 million, or 30 billion yen, over the next 10 years. The source also says that the ministry is already planning on giving him 2.7 billion yen in the next fiscal year to help fund Yamanaka’s stem cell research.
Yamanaka, a researcher and professor that Kyoto University’s Institute for Frontier Medical Sciences was recently awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. In 2006, he was able to demonstrate how a mature, specialized cell can be reprogrammed to create what is called an induced pluripotent stem cell or iPS cell. An iPS cell is a kind of “blank slate” cell, enabling the cell to mature into any kind of cell, such as stomach linings, muscles, bones, and skin. These cells can potentially be used to repair or even replace damaged organs. The significance of Yamanaka’s work is that scientists will be able to obtain pluripotent cells for research without the controversial use of embryos.
Also awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine was British biologist John Gourdon for discovering in 1962 that cell specialization can be reversed, from which Yamanaka was able to derive his own research. In 2011, Yamanaka received the Wolf Prize in Medicine in 2011 from the Israel-based Wolf Foundation. In early 2012 he was awarded the Millennium Technology Prize, the largest technology prize in the world and presented by the President of Finland.
[ via AFP ]