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March of Dimes Prize Winner Shares 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Developed New Method to Obtain Stem Cells from Adult Skin

White Plains, New York — Tuesday, October 09, 2012

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Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD, who received the 2010 March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology for programming adult skin cells into embryonic-like stem cells, has been selected as the co-recipient of this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

In its 17-year history, the March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology has been the crowning glory of a distinguished research career or a stepping stone on the path toward future honors for researchers. Six past March of Dimes Prize recipients now have gone on to win a Nobel Prize. 

Individuals who receive the March of Dimes Prize are leaders in the field of developmental biology. Their pioneering research offers hope for preventions and treatments for some of the most serious birth defects and other human diseases.

“Dr. Yamanaka’s pioneering work has fundamentally altered the field of developmental biology, and will aid research into many diseases, including birth defects,” says Joe Leigh Simpson, MD, senior vice president for Research and Global Programs at the March of Dimes. “His research makes it possible to create virtually an unlimited number of pluripotent stem cells with the potential to use them to prevent or repair serious conditions in babies that current medicine cannot correct.”

Dr. Yamanaka developed induced pluripotent (iPS) stem cells, which are embryonic-like stem cells capable of developing into any kind of cell. His method eliminates the need to obtain stem cells from human embryos.

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 shortly before his death in 1995. Dr. Salk received Foundation support for his work to create a polio vaccine.

Dr. Yamanaka is a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institutes, affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco, and also works with Kyoto University in Japan.

About March of Dimes
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

For the latest resources and health information, visit our websites marchofdimes.org and nacersano.org. To participate in our annual signature fundraising event, visit marchforbabies.org. If you have been affected by prematurity or birth defects, visit our shareyourstory.org community to find comfort and support. For detailed national, state and local perinatal statistics, visit persistats.org. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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