Factbox: A look at the Nobel Medicine Prize

Mon Oct 8, 2012 8:59am EDT

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(Reuters) - Here is a look at the 2012 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, which was awarded jointly on Monday to John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka.

* The 2012 prize was awarded "for the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent". The two scientists discovered that mature, specialized cells can be reprogrammed to become immature cells capable of developing into all tissues of the body. Their findings revolutionized understanding of how cells and organisms develop.

* Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine have been awarded 102 times since 1901. In all but 38 cases they were given to more than one recipient.

* Of the 199 individuals awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, only ten are women. Of these eight, Barabara McClintock is the only one who has received an unshared Nobel Prize.

* Famous Winners: Robert Koch, the German physician and bacteriologist, won in 1905 for his work on tuberculosis. Frederick Banting, the Canadian physiologist who with his assistant Charles Best discovered insulin, the principal remedy for diabetes, won the prize in 1923.

* The oldest living recipient is Rita Levi-Montalcini, the first Nobel laureate to reach her hundredth birthday, who won the prize in 1986 with Stanley Cohen for their discoveries of growth factors. She celebrated her 103rd birthday last April.

Sources: Reuters, nobelprize.org. Chambers Biographical Dictionary.

(Reporting by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)

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