The Nobel Assembly has awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka, researchers who discovered a way to develop stem cells from adult skin cells–thus removing the need to use and destroy human embryos.
The Nobel Assembly states that Gurdon and Yamanaka's discovery revolutionizes "the dogma" that stem cells could only be derived from immature cells, such as those of human embryos.
The pair jointly received the prize for their "discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent." These pluripotent cells are able to develop into any tissue of the human body.
Embryonic stem-cell research "has long been controversial—which is one reason why Yamanaka's discovery of an alternate way to obtain human stem cells, without the use of embryos, is so important."
Pro-life groups such as National Right to Life are trumpeting the award, lauding the discovery as the "ethically acceptable (and far more promising) alternative to harvesting stem ...1