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Carolin Hoffrogge
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Organ replacement from the laboratory

Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization together with project partners successful in nationwide innovation competition

May 20, 2020

Together with the University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG), the German Primate Center Göttingen (DPZ) and the Leibniz University in Hannover, the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization (MPIDS) is the second winner in the nationwide innovation competition "Organ Replacement from the Laboratory" of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with its IndiHEART project. The IndiHEART project will be supported with 2 Million Euros over three years.

Automated production of human heart muscle tissue.

Model of a heart Zoom Image
Model of a heart

The name IndiHEART stands for "Individualised heart muscle for the functional treatment of heart failure". In the project, led by Prof. Dr. Wolfram-Hubertus Zimmermann, Director of the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the UMG, human heart muscle tissue is automatically produced from induced pluripotent stem cells for the precise application in patients with heart muscle weakness. "We expect that the implementation of our IndiHEART concept will enable a second generation of cardiac patches for broad application in patients with myocardial insufficiency," said Zimmermann. A clinical trial is planned after completion of the project. This will be based on the findings of the BioVAT-HF study, which is planned to start in 2020 and will be the first worldwide to test artificial heart tissue in patients with severe heart muscle weakness. The BioVAT-HF study is funded by the German Centre for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK) in cooperation with the UMG spin-off Repairon GmbH. If the IndiHEART project is successfully implemented, customized heart patches for individual patients will be tested in an IndiVAT-HF follow-up study starting in 2024. This will allow the close selection of patients necessary for the BioVAT-HF study and makes the Göttingen heart patch approach accessible to a broad group of patients with cardiac insufficiency.

Project partners in the IndiHEART project are Prof. Dr. Eberhard Bodenschatz, Director of the Department of Fluid Physics, Structure Formation and Biocomplexity at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen, Prof. Dr. Rabea Hinkel, Head of the Department of Laboratory Animal Science at the German Primate Center - Leibniz Institute for Primate Research in Göttingen, Dr. Tobias Ortmaier, Head of the Institute of Mechatronic Systems at Leibniz University of Hannover, and Prof. Dr. Wolfram-Hubertus Zimmermann, Director of the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology of University Medicine Göttingen.

Researchers in the Department of Fluid Physics, Structure Formation and Biocomplexity at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization are developing special printing processes for the production of individualized heart patches. In addition, numerical simulations are being developed in which individual patient hearts are simulated in their full mechanical state on the basis of image data. The optimal size and composition of the tissue is then calculated for the digital patient's heart. Scientists at the Institute for Mechatronic Systems at Leibniz Universität Hannover use these data to enable individualized control of the heart patch printing process. In addition, specially developed software will help the heart surgeons to achieve an optimal therapeutic effect when planning operations.

The Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University Medical Center Göttingen has developed procedures for the production of artificial heart tissue from induced pluripotent stem cells for use as so-called heart patches in patients with cardiac insufficiency. Based on extensive preliminary work over a period of >25 years, the first clinical trials in patients with severe myocardial insufficiency were initiated.

At the German Primate Center (DPZ) - Leibniz Institute for Primate Research Göttingen, heart muscle cells produced from stem cells are tested for their functionality. If the heart patch works after implantation in monkeys, this will be the decisive step in the treatment of patients with heart disease.

The Institute for Mechatronic Systems at Leibniz Universität Hannover is developing the control of robotic systems for the automated production of individualized heart patches. The control system will use the simulations developed at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization to enable an individualized design for the personalized application of heart patches.

 
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