The research, which focuses mainly on Palestinian children due to the high rate of consanguinity among the population, has been divided into three main areas: clinical identification of the disease, its immunological characterization and finally genetic identification of the defect that is the primary cause.
In 2015 the project won international recognition with financial support from DFG, a top German agency responsible for funding and support groundbreaking research. The project is now managed through a tripartite cooperation between Dr. Omar Abu Zaitoun from Nablus, Dr. Polina Stepensky based at Hadassah and Prof. Klaus Warnatz from Freiburg, Germany.
To date the project has proven to be highly successfully with over 70 children have been diagnosed with immunodeficiency diseases and most going on to receive successful bone marrow transplants at Hadassah Hospital, 10 papers published in leading journals in the field of immunology and now a dedicated lab at Hadassah Hebrew university (Lautenberg Center of Immunology) to focus specifically on research for molecular immunological defects.
The conference, held in March at the YMCA in Jerusalem, was conducted as part of the official inauguration of the project. In attendance were over one hundred doctors, nurses, transplant coordinators and technicians mainly from Hospitals in Israel (Hadassah, Tel Hashomer, Schneider, Rambam, Soroka, Ichilov, Barzilay) and the Palestinian Authority (Ramallah, Hebron, Bethlehem, Jericho, Jenin). Visiting doctors came from Germany, Russia, the Netherlands, Australia and Azerbaijan. Representatives joined from both the Israeli and Palestinian Ministry of Health Departments.
The group finished the conference saying they now know each other better and that they have learned many things. Colleagues discussed being in a better position to promote childcare along with clinical and basic research. The meeting was undoubtedly a great success and there is hope that a tradition of joint research will be continued.