On Monday 8 October, "the Nobel Prize for Medicine 2012 was awarded to the British biologist John B. Gurdon, and the Japanese doctor and researcher Shinya Yamanaka for their discoveries on stem cells."
According to the Nobel committee, "their discoveries have revolutionised our understanding of how cells and organisms develop." More precisely, the committee explained that it rewarded these two researchers "for their discovery that mature, specialised cells can be reprogrammed to become immature cells capable of developing into all tissues of the body." So these cells, called IPS cells, are "adult cells reprogrammed to rejuvenate and recover the properties of embryonic stem cells (ES cells)"; they "present advantages comparable to those of embryonic stem cells but do not have the ethical inconvenience linked to the need to manipulate embryos to obtain them."
In 1962, "John Gurdon proved that it was possible to create an entire organism from a single adult cell," by "replacing the cell nucleus of a frog’s egg cell with a nucleus from a mature, specialised cell derived from the intestine of a tadpole."
In 2006, "Shinya Yamanaka succeeded in producing differentiated cells, potentially usable in cellular therapy, from simple cells taken from adults." His manipulation consisted of "reprogramming mature cells of mice to become pluripotent stem cells."