The project "IndiHEART: Individualized heart muscles for the functional treatment of heart failure" of the University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) is the second winner in the innovation competition "Organ replacement from the laboratory" and is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for two years with two million euros . Scientists from the University Medical Center Göttingen, the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen, the German Primate Center - Leibnitz Institute for Primate Research Göttingen and the Leibniz Universität Hannover are working together in the project.
The IndiHEART project partners will develop under the direction of Prof. Dr. Wolfram-Hubertus Zimmermann, Director of the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the UMG, a process for the automated production of human cardiac muscle tissue from induced pluripotent stem cells for the precise application in patients with cardiac muscle weakness.
Leducq Foundation: Editing the Failing Heart
Genome editing has the capacity to transform treatment for genetic and non-genetic cardiovascular disorders. Genetic testing is now making it routine to decipher mutations responsible for heart failure, arrhythmias, and other heritable cardiac disorders. Additionally, many common pathways implicated in heart failure development and progression have been uncovered as potential targets for genome editing. These mechanistic insights are now accompanied by progress in gene therapy, where delivery to the myocardium is possible. The goal of this Leducq Transatlantic Network of Excellence is to advance genome editing for the treatment of genetic and non-genetic heart failure towards first-in-patient studies. To apply gene editing to heart failure therapy, we assembled a dream team of basic, translational, and clinical scientists with synergistic expertise in identifying and defining the role of genetic mutations for heart disease, development of genome editing tools, human cell and tissue based heart failure modeling, gene therapy, and therapeutic genome editing. In addition to the highly complementary scientific background of the Network team, it is of pivotal importance for our Network goal that we have substantial experience in advancing basic discoveries to clinical applications. To facilitate translation, we will also engage regulatory agencies to develop a rational, ethical, and feasible path to gene editing of the failing heart. At the interface of unparalleled fundamental science as well as regulatory experience related to gene therapy medicinal products (GTMPs) and their translation into clinical applications, we will train the next generation of cardiovascular- and physician-scientists to deliver the promise of therapeutic genome editing in patients with heart failure.
Cardiovascular diseases are the most common cause of death worldwide. The associated heart failure is a disease that can currently only be cured, if at all, by heart transplants. The reason for heart failure is the inability of the heart to regenerate dead muscle cells itself. In order to solve this problem, numerous scientists are now conducting joint research within the REANIMA project. The aim is to offer new therapies for heart regeneration.
The Transregional Collaborative Research Centre (TRR) 127 aims to dissect the biology of xenogeneic cell, tissue and organ transplantation and develop evidence-based concepts that bring xenotransplantation of porcine pancreatic islets, heart valves, and hearts from bench to bedside. Breakthroughs in macroencapsulated porcine islet transplantation into diabetic macaques and life-supporting orthotopic porcine heart transplantation into baboons have been published in leading journals, demonstrating consistent positive results in the most stringent pre-clinical models. The overarching goals of the TRR 127 are to overcome the remaining obstacles and to generate the safety and efficacy data required for submission of clinical study protocols in Europe and elsewhere.
The Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 1002 "Modulatory Units in Heart Failure" wants to understand details and relationships in the widespread disease heart failure ("Heart Failure") even better. The goal of the SFB researchers is to develop new methods for a more effective treatment of heart failure. To do this, they investigate selected signaling pathways that establish communication between the different cells in the heart and the smallest functional units in heart cells, so-called functional microdomains, and play a role in the development of cardiac insufficiency.