Recorded: 29 May 2008
My lab is into the last ten years totally devoted to stem cells, particularly in the gut, so adult stem cells.
Yeah, I guess until last year the embryonic stem cells were highly controversial. They have to be derived from and there are many reasons to believe that they would not soon be so useful for clinical practice. Which eventually I think is the reason why we do this kind of research. Adult stem cells have the advantage of that you can actually derive them from patients, you can identify them and expand them. You can transplant them easily; you don’t have the ethical questions. The disadvantages that an adult stem cell will typically only make its own type of tissue, like a bone marrow stem cell makes blood. And there was a hype, four years ago, five years ago, that these stem cells could make all sorts of other tissues, but they really don’t. So the disadvantage with the adult stem cells is they are not what we would call plastic.
Hans Clevers obtained his MD degree in 1984 and his PhD degree in 1985 from the University Utrecht, the Netherlands. His postdoctoral work (1986-1989) was done with Cox Terhorst at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute of the Harvard University, Boston, USA.
From 1991-2002 Hans Clevers was Professor in Immunology at the University Utrecht and, since 2002, Professor in Molecular Genetics. Since 2002, he is director of the Hubrecht Institute in Utrecht.
Hans Clevers has been a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2000 and is the recipient of several awards, including the Dutch Spinoza Award in 2001, the Swiss Louis Jeantet Prize in 2004, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Katharine Berkan Judd Award in 2005, the Israeli Rabbi Shai Shacknai Memorial Prize in 2006, and the Dutch Josephine Nefkens Prize for Cancer Research and the German Meyenburg Cancer Research Award in 2008. He obtained an ERC Advanced Investigator grant in 2008. He is Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur since 2005.