FORMAT – A novel medium for revolutionizing stem cell manufacturing technologies

Researcher (PI)

Jacob Hanna (Yaqub Hanna)

Host Institution (HI)

Weizmann Institute Of Science, Israel

Call details

Proof of Concept (PoC) Grant, ERC-2015-PoC



In my ERC-funded research project (acronymed CELLREPROGRAMMING), we made a revolutionary discovery that can transform the enormous potential of stem cell science into viable and sustainable treatments for degenerative and age-related diseases. In

particular, we were the first group worldwide who successfully managed to generate Extracellular-signal-Regulated Kinases (ERK) signalling independent human naïve PSCs (both ESCs and iPSCs), a completely new category of human stem cells that is characterized by an earlier developmental stage, i.e. they are more “primitive” than typical human PSCs. We managed to do so by employing a panel of different inhibitors and cytokines to produce a novel Naïve Human Stem cell Medium (NHSM) that allows the acquisition of many apparent naïve features that were previously observed only in mice . Importantly, this new pluripotent configuration, not only comes in different molecular flavours, but also has different functional properties. For instance, we were able to successfully reconstitute in vitro the early human cells that give rise to either oocytes or spermatozoa, known as Primordial Germ Cells (PGCs). Driven by our passion to help people leave better and longer, we want to make our novel NHSM promptly available to both researchers and clinicians. As such, the goal of this PoC project, entitled as “a novel medium For Revolutionizing stem cell MAnufacturing Technologies” – FORMAT, is two-pronged. The first goal is to establish the technical feasibility of the novel NHSM and create a commercial-like prototype for enhanced expansion and derivation of human naïve iPSCs. This includes generating Xeno-free NHSM conditions and making NHSM compatible for expanding human iPSCs in bioreactors . The second goal of the PoC project is to establish the commercialization potential of NHSM. In summary, the PoC idea is clearly derived from our ERC-starting project acronymed CELLREPROGRAMMING.

ERC funding: 150,000Euro

Duration Start date: 2017-01-01, End date: 2018-05-31