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February 17, 2011

CiRA Director Shinya Yamanaka receives the 2011 Wolf Prize

The Israel-based Wolf Foundation announced that Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, director of the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA), Kyoto University, has won the 2011 Wolf Prize in Medicine. Dr. Yamanaka shares the prize with Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch, a professor of the Whitehead Institute who is recognized as a world leader in manipulating the mouse genome.

Dr. Yamanaka received the prize for his success on generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) from skin cells. The Wolf Prize Committee stated that the groundbreaking contributions by Dr. Yamanaka and Dr. Jaenisch form the basis for work on regenerative medicine currently performed in hundreds of laboratories around the world will have a major impact on human health.

"I am very honored to receive the Wolf Prize with Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch," said Dr. Yamanaka. "iPS cell research has made rapid progress thanks to efforts by Dr. Jaenisch and other scientists around the world. I will make the utmost to bring iPS cell technology to the bed at an earliest possible stage in cooperation with scientists inside and outside of Japan."

Immediately after the 2006 publication of the generation of mouse iPS cells by Dr. Yamanaka's group, Dr. Jaenisch reported that mouse iPS cells generated from a mouse with sickle cell anemia could be converted into hematopoietic progenitors and transplanted back into the mouse, ameliorating the disease. His work demonstrated therapeutic potentials of iPS cells.

The Wolf Foundation was established in 1975 to promote the development of science and art. The prize has been annually awarded to outstanding scientists and artists in the field of agriculture, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, physics and arts.

The awarding ceremony will take place at the Knesset Building (Israel Parliament), in Jerusalem in May.

The Wolf Foundation Website

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