UPDATE 1-Japanese, UK scientists win Nobel medicine prize

* Gurdon, Yamanaka recognised for stem cell research

STOCKHOLM, Oct 8 (Reuters) - A British and a Japanese scientist won the Nobel Prize for Medicine on Monday for work on creating stem cells, opening the door to new methods to diagnose and treat diseases.

Briton John Gurdon and Japan's Shinya Yamanaka equally share the prize of 8 million crowns ($1.2 million), the Nobel Assembly at Sweden's Karolinska Institute said in a statement.

"These groundbreaking discoveries have completely changed our view of the development and specialisation of cells."

The discovery offered a new way to create stem cells with the ability to become different types of tissue by effectively turning back the clock on adult cells, restoring them to a so-called "pluripotent" state.

The practical result can be that skin cells can be obtained from ill people to find out more about their diseases and develop new therapies.

Medicine is the first of the Nobel prizes awarded each year. Prizes for achievements in science, literature and peace were first awarded in 1901 in accordance with the will of dynamite inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel. ($1 = 6.5846 Swedish crowns)

(Editing by Patrick Lannin, Alistair Scrutton and Mark Heinrich)

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