M1 Tissue EngineeringM1 Tissue Engineering

Tissue Engineering

The work in this module pursues the objective of in vitro generation of bioartificial tissue and organ systems. These are not regarded as foreign by the recipient organism and are completely integrated in the course of endogenous repair mechanisms (remodelling), in order to maintain its ability to grow and regenerate over long periods. Several different bioartificial tissue constructs are generated, such as a bioartificial three dimensional tissue substitute made of bone and fat tissue, or a patient-specific vascular prosthesis using the patient's own blood samples.

In reconstructive surgery, there is a considerable demand for hard and soft tissue to correct defects, which may have arisen from tumour resection, injury or congenital defects. For example, it may be important for the patient's self-image and social integration to have a normal contour after deformation of the facial bones or loss of soft tissue from the breast. Clinical possibilities for reconstruction include the transplantation of endogenous (autologous) tissue or the use of external synthetic (alloplastic) implants.

Cardiovascular diseases are the most important causes of death in the world. The most principle options for treatment include minimally invasive approaches (stent implantation), local reconstruction of damaged vessel segments and insertion of bypasses to bridge blocked vessels. Here too reconstructive surgery may use autologous or alloplastic surgery.

The problem in using biological tissue is that extraction of autologous donor tissue is linked to morbidity - which may range from slight to severe. Moreover, the use of allogenic or xenogenic tissue substitute is linked to rejection reactions and pathogenic microorganisms may be transmitted. It is therefore essential that the material - of either biological or synthetic origin - must be biocompatible. Optimal tissue substitute should not be thrombogenic and should be immunologically inert. In addition, it must possess biomechanical properties that are similar to those of the native tissue. However, conventionally synthesised materials exhibit only limited biocompatibility and are frequently affected by infections. Vascular prostheses often develop thrombotic inclusions.

The overall objective of this project is to develop a transdisciplinary development chain for tissue engineering. Collaboration between research workers in different disciplines will lead to the establishment of structures allowing efficient processing of related problems, such as sampling morbidity, foreign body reactions, biocompatibility, etc.. These include

  1. Shared development of innovative approaches with high translation potential,

  2. Development of patient-specific approaches in accordance with industrial and medical manufacturing standards,

  3. Close cooperation with the module “Clinical Translation”, in order to accelerate prospective clinical application and economic exploitation.


Here are the staff of this module: