Nobel Prize In Medicine Announced
The two scientists have never worked together and their discoveries are more than 40 years apart.
They will still be sharing the 8 million kronor ($1.2 million) prize.
These scientists have discovered that any cell in the body can be reprogrammed into stem cells, which could lead to new treatments for Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and schizophrenia, according to Associated Press.
Both recipients' careers, however, were not always successful.
When he was younger, Gurdon was told he had no future in science. Yamanaka studied to be a surgeon but was unsuccessful, according to The New York Times.
Their research is a significant advancement in the field because it avoids the ethical dilemma of embryonic stem cell research.
After Gurdon cloned an animal in 1963 - he was the first person to do so - he discovered that certain cells in frogs could be used to produce new tadpoles.
When Gurdon received the call from the Nobel committee on Monday, he thought it was a prank because he accomplished his work on stem cells almost 50 years ago.
Gurdon told London reporters that when he made the discovery there was “no obvious therapeutic benefit at all.”
Yamanaka’s work was the missing piece that helped give significance to Gurdon’s work.
Just six years ago Yamanaka successfully reprogrammed mature cells from mice into stem cells. These stem cells could then develop into any type of cell.
The Nobel Assembly usually only awards scientists for research done at least a decade before to prove it has stood the test of time, reported the Associated Press.
"Even though we have received this prize, we have not really accomplished what we need to," Yamanaka said.
Yamanaka is set to start the first human trials next year, according to CNN.
Gurdon, age 79, has no plans to retire.
The remaining Nobel Prizes will be announced throughout the week. The Nobel Prize in physics will be awarded Tuesday, followed by chemistry on Wednesday, literature on Thursday and the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.
Reach Staff Reporter Anna Catherine Brigida here.