Dr Shinya Yamanaka, a stem cell scientist from Japan, has been awarded the Millennium Technology Prize for his discovery on reprogramming human cells to mimic embryonic stem cells.
His discovery means that human cells can be reprogrammed to become any cell in the body, and has prompted a new generation of research into regenerative medicine. The process, called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, took the award and became the first time the prize has been shared by two scientists, who will split the 1.2 million euros ($1.3 million; £800,000) award.
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. Dr Shinya Yamanaka’s discovery of a new method to develop pluripotent stem cells for medical research could help combat intractable disease,” BBC News reported.