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LEBAO / MHH wins innovation competition "Organ replacement out of the laboratory" / Tubular heart prosthesis made from iPS cells

LEBAO / Hannover Medical School (MHH) is the winner in the nationwide innovation competition “Organ replacement out of the laboratory” of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The MHH project "3D-Heart-2B" will receive federal funding of 3 million euros for three years.

Professor Dr. Ina Gruh coordinates the research project "3D-Heart-2B", in which scientists from the MHH Clinic for Cardiac, Thoracic, Transplant and Vascular Surgery (HTTG) and the Leibniz Research Laboratories for Biotechnology and Artificial Organs (LEBAO) want to develop a biological cardiac support system. With the help of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) from genetically reprogrammed human tissue cells, heart muscle cells can be produced. These should 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 hereditary without a heart chamber.

A healthy heart has two chambers that are separated from each other by the heart septum. The left ventricle pumps oxygen-rich blood into the arteries, the right ventricle pumps oxygen-poor blood into the lungs. If there is only one ventricle from birth, it supplies both the body and the pulmonary artery. "These patients have mixed blood in their hearts and have to undergo multiple operations in childhood so that the circuits are separated," says HTTG Clinic Director Professor Dr. Axel Haverich. However, the incomplete heart still has a reduced pumping capacity. The biological heart prosthesis made from fibrin, heart muscle cells and heart valves is intended to compensate for this reduced pumping capacity.