The recipients of the coveted Shaw Prize this year include Sir Ian Wilmut and Dr. Keith Campbell of the U.K., and Dr. Shinya Yamanaka of Japan, all of whom shared the million-dollar life sciences award. According to an official statement released by the organizers of the event, “Based on these discoveries, animal experiments by others have already shown that it was possible to cure mouse models of sickle cell anemia and Parkinson’s disease.”
Although Dr. James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin at Madison is widely recognized as the first to conduct iPS cell procedures on human skin cells, Dr. Yamanaka of Kyoto University preceded Dr. Thomson’s work by performing the first iPS procedure on mouse fibroblasts in 2006.
Sir Ian Wilmut has often been in the news lately, not so much for his cloning of Dolly the Sheep as for his statement that he is abandoning the field of cloning in order to shift his focus to adult stem cells, which he believes merit the greatest attention.
Established in 2002 by a Hong Kong film producer and philanthropist, the Shaw Prize is actually three separate prizes, which are awarded for outstanding achievement in the life sciences, the mathematical sciences, and astronomy. Each of the awards consists of one million dollars in cash.