SANTA ANA — A scientist filed a lawsuit in Orange County Superior Court against the Nobel Prize organization, claiming this year’s award-winners for physiology or medicine were falsely credited with pioneering a form of stem cell research.

Shinya Yamanaka

Dr. Rongxiang Xu claims to be a founder of “human body regenerative restoration science.” His lawsuit, filed Dec. 3, seeks unspecified financial damages and demands that the Nobel committee rescind some of its statements explaining why John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka won this year’s prize for physiology or medicine.

“It should be noted that Dr. Xu has no interest in challenging the Nobel Prize, in discounting the work or discoveries of the scientists who won the prize,” the lawsuit states. “Dr. Xu’s main interest is in rehabilitating his dominant position as the owner, pioneer of the scientific achievement characterized in the publication at issue.”

Xu claims that in 1984 he “discovered” how to regenerate cells, research that he says has benefited 20 million burn victims in 73 countries

The lawsuit was filed in Orange County because the law firm representing Xu, Ardent Law Group, is based in Irvine.

Gurdon is credited with a 1962 discovery that a cell’s maturation could be reversed. He removed the nucleus from a frog’s egg cell and replaced it with a cell from a tadpole, and the modified egg developed into a normal tadpole.

In 2006, Yamanaka discovered how to reprogram mature cells into less-developed cells that could be developed into all types of cells, according to the Nobel committee.

The discoveries have led to the cloning of mammals.

“These groundbreaking discoveries have completely changed our view of the development and cellular specialization,” according to a Nobel Assembly news release announcing the award for Gurdon and Yamanaka. “Textbooks have been rewritten and new research fields have been established. By reprogramming human cells, scientists have created new opportunities to study diseases and develop methods for diagnosis and therapy.”

Officials with the Nobel Assembly could not be reached for comment on the lawsuit.

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