OHSU researchers have been on a roll in 2013, continuing to make significant scientific discoveries that make big news, nationally and internationally. In fact, OHSU’s Shoukhrat Mitalipov just made #4 on Time magazine’s list of of Top 10 Medical breakthroughs in 2013, for his work in embryonic stem cells.
Mitalipov led a group of scientists at OHSU’s Oregon National Primate Research Center, who announced in May that they had successfully reprogrammed human skin cells to become embryonic stem cells, capable of transforming into any other cell type in the body. It was the first time scientists had achieved this success, and the accomplishment generated thousands of stories from around the world. The discovery, published in the journal Cell, could be a major step toward stem cells someday being used to treat or cure Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries and a host of other conditions and diseases. This was the second time Dr. Mitalipov made Time‘s Top Ten list. He made the list in 2007 for his lab’s cloning of embryonic stem cells from monkeys.
Mitalipov is hardly alone at OHSU in making big science news in 2013. Dr. Louis Picker, from OHSU’s Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute generated international attention in September for the publication of a paper detailing his development of a vaccine candidate that completely cleared an AIDS-causing virus from the body. Picker’s vaccine worked in monkeys but has huge implications for AIDS in humans, since the viruses that cause the disease in monkeys and humans are so similar.
Another piece of big news came from OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute. Nike Co-founder Phil Knight recently pledged to donate $500 million to the Knight Cancer Institute, so long as OHSU can raise an additional $500 million by 2015. OHSU and the Knight Cancer Institute have now embarked on a two-year fundraising campaign to end cancer as we know it.
The bottom line? There’s amazing work happening at OHSU, and there’s much more to do.
Todd Murphy is a senior communications specialist with OHSU’s Strategic Communications office. He is the lead communications specialist for the OHSU Brain Institute and also communications about the work of scientists at OHSU’s Oregon National Primate Research Center.