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And the winners of the 2010 Nobel Prizes may be .... [Updated]

September 21, 2010
  • Scientists who discovered stem cells, the hormone leptin, and basic elements of the immune system are among the contenders for this year's Nobel Prizes, which will be awarded in about two weeks.
Scientists who discovered stem cells, the hormone leptin, and basic elements… (Liz Hafalia/San Francisco…)

The awarding of Nobel Prizes is still a couple of weeks away, but the business information firm Thomson Reuters is ready to share its predictions for the 2010 awards. So without further ado ...

The Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine will go to:

  • Canadian scientists Ernest McCulloch and James E. Till, who discovered stem cells in the 1960s, along with Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, the Japanese researcher who figured out that adult stem cells can be rewound to an embryonic-like state.
Or it will go to:
  • Americans Douglas L. Coleman and Dr. Jeffrey M. Friedman, whose experiments led to the discovery of leptin, the hormone that regulates metabolism and appetite. (The pair won the 2010 Lasker Award for basic medical research on Tuesday.)
[Updated at 12:59 p.m.: An earlier version of this post mispelled the Lasker Award as Laker award.]

It might even be awarded to:

  • Dr. Ralph M. Steinman of Rockefeller University in New York, who discovered the dendritic cells that are necessary for the immune system to function.
As for the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, the contenders include: And:
  • Stephen J. Lippard of MIT, who found a way to interfere with cancer cells’ ability to replicate by squeezing tiny molecules between base pairs of DNA.
The predictions are based on the number of times that these scientists’ publications have been cited over the past 20 years, Thomson Reuters said in a press release.The company hedged its predictions a bit by explaining that these scientists are likely to win Nobels “either this year or in the near future.”

The scientists named as Thomson Reuters Citation Laureates have reason to be optimistic – 19 prior laureates have gone on to win Nobels since 2002, the company says.

-- Karen Kaplan/Los Angeles Times

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