5 Interesting Questions for the Creator of Potent Stem Cells

5 Interesting Questions for the Creator of Potent Stem Cells

Jacob Hanna left his home to go to Jerusalem to study college. As a Palestinian, it was very hard for him to get a place due to the two countries’ long history. Still, he was adamant to find a place to stay and when he did, he graduated with flying colors.

His research on the manipulation of stem cells made him quite popular in the medical field and he was immediately offered a job in both Harvard and NYU.

At only 31 years old, his plan was not to work at those prestigious schools, but rather, he would spend time back in his home country and work at the Weismann Institute of Science.

Today, Jacob Hanna is going to answer some interesting questions, to which, he replied gracefully. Let’s find out what he answered, shall we?

1.You were renowned for your work in curing mice with sickle-cell anemia. How were you able to do that?

The first part of the process was that me and my team converted the mice’s skin cells into induced pluripotent stem cells. These cells are undifferentiated and can be used to generate any cell or tissue in the body.

Next, we have acquired a sample where we corrected the sickle-cell mutations in the cells on it and we transplanted them back into the mice. By using the mouse’s own cells, you no longer need to use any immunosuppressants, which means that you no longer have to worry about cell rejection at all.

2.Could this procedure be applicable to humans?

Most of the stem cells that are grown in the lab are growing or have differentiated into specialized cells. However, my team and I have provided the first ever case where we can help maintain their natural, more naïve state.

3.Stem Cell Research has attracted plenty of media attention. Is it difficult to proceed with your research given so much fanfare?

There are several times where I tried to proceed with the work of others. However, some of the stem cell researchers are feeling this celebrity status in that they are now making outrageous claims- claims that are not substantiated or backed up by tangible data.


4.What was your educational attainment in your home country, Jerusalem?

As a Palestinian, I had to work hard every step of the way to get what I want. The government and the social system will not give you a break nor help you with anything. If you want something, pursue it.

5.If that is the case, why did you go back in Israel to start your own laboratory?

Perhaps it was due to the Academia where race or ethnicity really didn’t matter, especially since Weizmann is one of the best multidisciplinary institutes in the country (and perhaps, even in the entire world).

I also see some value in promoting Palestinian academics, so if there is any way I can further push for that or assist in any way, then that would give me great satisfaction.