The advance raised new possibilities for regenerative medicine
Robert P. Lanza, American scientist known for his research on cloning, particularly his contributions to the refinement of a somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) technique that enabled the generation of the world’s first human embryonic stem (ES) cells from aged somatic (body) cells …The advance raised new possibilities for regenerative medicine, where transplantation with ES cells derived from adult cells held therapeutic promise for a wide array of diseases and disorders.
As a youth, Lanza emerged from disadvantaged circumstances to win recognition for a science-fair project in which he used nuclear protein to induce melanin (pigment) production in white chickens. He eventually published his findings in the journal Nature. Lanza went on to receive B.A. (1978) and M.D. (1983) degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. During his studies he spent time in the laboratories of such renowned scientists as the American physician and medical researcher Jonas Salk and the American psychologist B.F. Skinner. Lanza also traveled to South Africa to study heart-transplant medicine with surgeon Christiaan Barnard.
… He later helped generate human ES cells from single blastomeres—cells produced through cleavage of the fertilized egg prior to embryo formation—potentially circumventing the issue of embryo destruction. Lanza also contributed to research in which ES cells were successfully differentiated into retinal pigment epithelium, the cell layer that nourishes the retina of the eye. The work led to the first clinical trials to test ES cells in human patients…
Lanza was the recipient of various awards. He also wrote or cowrote numerous books, notably Biocentrism (2009; with Bob Berman), in which he elaborated on the idea that life and consciousness are fundamental elements of the universe rather than accidents of the laws of physics. In 2014 Lanza was among the 100 honoured by Time magazine as the world’s most influential people.