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Dr. Hazan, Our Start!

Born in Morocco, Dr. Sabine Hazan has always had a dedication to understanding life. She sought a career in medicine and was accepted to medical school based on outstanding research on obesity conducted as an undergraduate and continued to excel beyond.  She completed her residency at the University of Miami during the peak of the HIV epidemic, treating extremely ill patients at Jackson Memorial Hospital and in the local jail.  Here she was awarded two prizes for her research.  After residency Dr. Hazan became the first woman gastroenterology fellow at the University of Florida.  Here she completed a year of research and presented her findings in poster format at the American College of Gastroenterology National Meeting.  It was here that she was approached by the esteemed Dr. Neil Stollman. He told her that the future of medicine lies in the microbiome. For her exceptional work with visceral hyperalgesia she was awarded a Dean’s Research Award.  Dr Stollman is now an expert and leader on Fecal transplant and Clostridoides Difficile and serves on  the governing board or American College of Gastroenterology.

Following her fellowship, Dr. Hazan returned to Montreal and opened a practice in upstate New York, on the border.  Her work in this practice, comprised of 10 percent research and 90 percent private gastroenterology patients, brought many patients from across the border in Canada.  She was the only female gastroenterologist in a 25-mile radius, and this influx of Canadian patients brought to light for her the problems with socialized medicine in Canada.  These patients faced intolerable wait times for a visit with a gastroenterologist in Canada, and so visited Dr. Hazan in New York.  After meeting with the Prime Minister of Health, Dr. Hazan helped bring about a dual system in Canada, in which private practices co-exist with socialized medicine.  Her years of practice as a solo woman gastroenterologist brought her under the microscope on numerous occasions, facing scrutiny not encountered by her male colleagues.  

After the birth of her two children, Dr. Hazan and her husband Dr Alon Steinberg  moved to California.  Here she joined her sister, Dr. Lydie Hazan, at Axis Today Clinical Trials as a Sub Investigator, and began doing clinical trial research in California for the company in Beverly Hills.  She also joined a medical group as a private practitioner in Ventura.  However, her desire for innovation led her to establish thriving private practices in Malibu, Thousand Oaks, and Ventura. Still desiring to understand life, she started her own clinical trial company 16 years ago, Ventura Clinical Trials, and has been Principal Investigator and Sub Investigator in over 300 clinical trials.  Many of these trials were for Clostroides difficile infection (CDI), enough that through her impressive recruitment she became known as the Queen of C. difficile in the clinical trial community.  When her patients with Clostroides difficile did not respond to traditional or clinical trial therapies, she resorted to treatment with fecal microbiota transplant.  

During her extensive clinical trial experience, she observed how dramatically the microbiome can impact human health.   Over the  years, Dr. Hazan has followed the wise words of Dr. Stollman and taken the path of FMT.  During this time, she has observed that FMT has the power to cure more than C. difficile infection.  She has watched patients with Crohn’s, psoriasis, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer improve following transplant.  Naturally, this dedicated scientist wanted to better understand the mechanism behind what she was seeing in her patients.  She conducted extensive research, which led her to Dr. Sidney Finegold, an infectious disease specialist, who was also focused on the microbiome and its relationship to disease, particularly autism.  He told her that the answer lies in the bacteria of the gut, and that sequencing the microbiome to identify those bacteria was the answer.  He advised her to acquire a next-generation sequencer and conduct studies using whole-genome shotgun sequencing to examine the mysteries of the microbiome.

As her clinical trial work continued, Dr. Hazan found that fecal microbiota transplant was increasingly juxtaposed to her studies.  She was a top recruiter for two massive clinical trials, SERES and Crestovo.  While conducting trial studies, two Crohn's patients developed CDI and required FMT, she discovered that by restoring the balance of their microbiome through FMT, which she renamed refloralization® she was able to help their Crohn’s disease as well.  Wanting to better understand how this was possible, she reached out to Dr. Thomas Borody, a pioneer researcher and father of modern FMT in the 1980s.  He is also known for developing the triple therapy cure for peptic ulcer and has published huge amounts of articles.  After a distinguished career in leading Australian and American hospitals Dr. Borody founded the Centre for Digestive Diseases in Sydney.  This meeting between Dr. Borody and Dr. Hazan proved to be the beginning of a collaborative relationship. Dr Borody is the mastermind behind fecal transplant and who's methods she uses for her FMT procedures. 

While the Woolsey fire ravaged southern California, Dr. Hazan received a call from the family of Dr. Finegold, to inform her that she was to received all his papers and books in hopes to continue his legacy work on Autism,  She has continued his legacy, and in January of 2019 she established a new company, ProgenaBiome™, to investigate the microbiome.  ProgenaBiome™ is a state-of-the-art genetic sequencing laboratory with next-generation whole genome shotgun sequencing capabilities on-site as per Dr Sidney Finegold's recommendations. To run this incredible laboratory Dr. Hazan brought on board Dr. Andreas Papoutsis, a brilliant scientist with extensive experience in assay development and next-generation sequencing.  He has researched and investigated new technologies for the analysis of BRCA-1, one of the genes associated with breast cancer, CART-19, a therapy for blood cancers, and T-cell receptors.  Under his directorship the lab has officially launched, with efficient workflow and meticulous processing.  Dr. Papoutsis introduced Dr. Hazan to Dr. Bill Strauss, a scientist  called “the jewel of Harvard” by the New York Times, who is now Chief Scientific Officer for ProgenaBiome™.

Through her groundbreaking work, Dr. Hazan has earned the respect and admiration of her colleagues, many of whom have joined her in the quest for a healthcare revolution.  While she is working to bring medicine to new frontiers, she believes there will always be a place for pharmaceutical clinical trials, naturopaths, nutritionists, and additional work into the microbiome.  She believes that the answers will come not through competition, but rather through collaboration through all fields.  Just as the post office still exists, decades after the development of e-mail, better understanding of the microbiome does not eliminate the need for other facets of medicine.  She also believes in patient choice; that patients should be able to choose quality of life over quantity if they so desire and have the right to try any treatment of their choosing.

Dr. Hazan has been invited to speak all over the world, including at the Microbiome Congress and NIST.  She is working with both to ensure that data generated by ProgenaBiome™ is valid, verified, and reproducible.  Furthermore, she believes that this can only be achieved through ethical research.

Dr. Hazan is a firm believer that disease can only be understood through precision medicine by focusing on the individual and the changes within.  Much like each person has unique fingerprints, no two people have the same microbiome.  She also believes in the importance of assessing disease by looking at family.  Her overall goal is to understand the microbes that allow us to function, from those we are born with to those that will decompose us when we die.  She hopes that her quest for individualized microbiome understanding leads to an awareness that all we are is a diverse collection of microbes, working together to shape the world.

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