LEBAO / HTTG wins innovation competition ‘Organ replacement from the lab’ / Tubular heart prosthesis from iPS cells

Hannover Medical School (MHH) is the winner of the nationwide innovation competition "Organ Replacement from the Laboratory" of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). MHH project "3D-Heart-2B" receives 3 million euros in federal funding for three years
Tubular heart prosthesis from iPS cells

In the "3D-Heart-2B" research project coordinated by Professor Dr. Ina Gruh, scientists from the MHH Clinic for Cardiac, Thoracic, Transplantation and Vascular Surgery (HTTG) and the Leibniz Research Laboratories for Biotechnology and Artificial Organs (LEBAO) aim to develop a biological heart support system. So-called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) from genetically reprogrammed human tissue cells can be used to produce heart muscle cells. These will now form the basic building block for a tubular heart prosthesis. As a single-chamber heart implant, the organ replacement could help patients with congenital heart defects who are hereditarily missing a heart chamber.
Cardiac prosthesis to compensate for reduced pumping capacity

A healthy heart has two chambers separated by the cardiac septum. The left ventricle pumps oxygen-rich blood to the aorta, while the right ventricle pumps oxygen-poor blood to the lungs. If there is only one ventricle from birth, it supplies both the artery to the body and the artery to the lungs. "These patients have mixed blood in the heart and require multiple surgeries in childhood to separate the circuits," says HTTG Clinic Director Professor Axel Haverich, MD. The incomplete heart, however, continues to have a reduced pumping capacity. The biological heart prosthesis made of fibrin, heart muscle cells and heart valves is intended to compensate for this reduced pumping capacity.

The shortage of donor organs is a major societal problem. Replacement organs from the laboratory could be an important contribution to the solution. The federal competition is intended to help accelerate the cultivation of such replacement organs.

BMBF: Sprunginnovationen zum Organersatz