March of Dimes awards $250,000 prize for discovery of how to
reprogram adult cells into stem cells
5 February 2010
The scientist who reprogrammed adult cells into embryonic-like
stem cells has been chosen to receive the 2010 March of Dimes Prize in
Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD, of the Gladstone Institute of
Cardiovascular Disease, San Francisco, and Kyoto University, Japan, will
be honoured with the 2010 March of Dimes Prize for his pioneering work
that has fundamentally altered the field of developmental biology and
will aid research into the prevention of birth defects.
Dr Yamanaka has reprogrammed human skin cells into embryonic-like
stem cells, which are pluripotent, meaning that they have the ability to
develop into any kind of cell. The Yamanaka method eliminates the need
to obtain stem cells from human embryos, a process that results in the
destruction of the embryo.
"Dr Yamanaka's remarkable achievement makes it possible to have
virtually an unlimited number of pluripotent stem cells that have the
potential to be used to correct or repair birth defects in children,"
said Michael Katz, MD, senior vice president for Research and Global
Programs at the March of Dimes.
The March of Dimes Prize is a US$250,000 cash award and a silver
medal in the design of the Roosevelt dime, in honour of President
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who founded the March of Dimes. The Prize
will be awarded to Dr. Yamanaka at a gala black-tie dinner and ceremony
on May 3rd, 2010, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, during the
annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies. Also on May 3, Dr
Yamanaka will deliver the Fifteenth Annual March of Dimes Prize Lectures
at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
Dr Yamanaka is the LK Whittier Foundation Investigator in Stem Cell
Biology at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease and
Professor of Anatomy at the University of California, San Francisco. He
also is the director of the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application
at the Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences, and professor in
the Department of Stem Cell Biology at the Institute for Frontier
Medical Sciences, both at Kyoto University in Japan.
The March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology has been awarded
annually since 1996 to investigators whose research has profoundly
advanced the science that underlies the understanding of birth defects.
The March of Dimes Foundation created the Prize as a tribute to Dr Jonas
Salk, who received Foundation support for his work to create a polio
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for
pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide and its premier
event, March for Babies, the March of Dimes works to improve the health
of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant