>It turns out that it’s not just American Christian right-wingers who are grateful that there’s an alternative to embryonic stem cells from the destruction of human embryos.
Heidelberg, Germany (dpa) – Shinya Yamanaka, the Japanese scientist who last week revealed a revolutionary new technique to manufacture stem cells, was chosen Monday as winner of a top German prize for cancer research.
He is to receive the annual 50,000 euro (74,000-dollar) Meyenburg Cancer Research Prize awarded at the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg.
The new technique, in which only four genes in ordinary skin cells need to be manipulated, has brought relief in Germany and the United States where there is ethical resistance to using stem cells from killed human embryos.
Yamanaka’s team’s research was published this month in the scientific journal Cell, along with related findings by allied US scientists in Wisconsin.
The award committee said the study of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells was a key step to new forms of cancer therapy, since cancer cells themselves probably formed the same way.
Explaining the process would suggest ways to prevent it and thus save people from cancer.
The prize was created by a rich German couple, Wilhelm and Maria Meyenburg, and has been awarded annually since 1981.