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Research for Patients' Benefit

Nobel laureate Shinya Yamanaka tells the Japan Times that researchers should be patient- or application-focused, rather than paper-focused.

Yamanaka, the director of the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application at Kyoto University, says that he was moved to go into research because, as a surgeon, there were many patients he was unable to help, including his father.

"I saw many patients who we couldn't help at all when I worked as a clinician," he tells the Japan Times. "Through those experiences, I thought I really wanted to do something to help these patients. The answer was to become a medical scientist." 

He adds that he tried to stay true to his original vision by performing research into new therapies.

Currently, Yamanaka, who won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on induced pluripotent stem cells, has been creating a bank of stock iPS cell lines. These allografts, Yamanaka says, are cheaper to use than autologous transplantation, though come with a chance of rejection. Because of that chance of rejection, he and his colleagues are developing 140 lines based on HLA types found within the Japanese population so that those lines would cover about 90 percent of the population.