Stem cell scientist wins award

Posted: June 14, 2012 at 7:12 am

13 June 2012 Last updated at 08:31 ET

Japanese stem cell scientist Dr Shinya Yamanaka has been awarded the Millennium Technology Prize.

His award is for discovering how to reprogram human cells to mimic embryonic stem cells, which can become any cell in the body.

Called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, these now aid research into regenerative medicine.

He was joint-winner with Linus Torvalds, who created a new open source operating system for computers.

This is the first time the prize has been shared by two scientists - they will split the 1.2m euros ($1.3m; 800,000) award.

My goals over the decade include to develop new drugs to treat intractable diseases by using iPS cell technology and to conduct clinical trials using it on a few patients with Parkinson's diseases, diabetes or blood diseases.

The President of the Republic of Finland, Sauli Niinisto, presented the prize at the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki.

Dr Ainomija Haarla, President of Technology Academy Finland - the foundation which awards the prize every two years - said: "The International Selection Committee has to judge whether an innovation has had a favourable impact on people's lives and assess its potential for further development to benefit humanity in the future.

"The innovations of both this year's winners embody that principle.

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Stem cell scientist wins award

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