Biology of xenogeneic cell and organ transplantation - from bench to bedside

Solid organ and cell transplantations, including pancreatic islets, are the treatment of choice for terminal diseases and several chronic disorders. Due to the severe shortage of appropriate human organs and tissues for allotransplantation, alternative strategies are required. Xenotransplantation of porcine tissues or organs is a reasonable option, since immunological hurdles and functional incompatibilities can be overcome by precise genetic engineering of donor pigs or by the development of specific matrices and devices for xenotransplantation of cells.

We have established an interdisciplinary consortium of basic and translational scientists, such as immunologists, genetic engineers, cell physiologists, virologists and transplant surgeons, to develop pig-to-primate xenotransplantation from the experimental studies to clinical application. Our research programme is structured into three main-areas:

(A) to develop concepts to modulate immune mechanisms at the xenograft-host interface

(B) developing and characterising genetically multi-modified donor pigs to overcome rejection mechanisms, functional incompatibilities, and zoonotic risks.

(C) preclinical and clinical xenotransplantation

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.




Prof. Dr. med. vet. Eckhard Wolf
Institute of Molecular Animal Breeding and Biotechnology
Gene Centre
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Feodor-Lynen-Str. 25
81377 München

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Prof. Dr. med. Dr. h.c.
Bruno Reichart

Walter Brendel Centre of Experimental Medicine
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Marchioninistr. 27
81377 München

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Project Coordinator extern:

Ass. jur. Dorothea Marquardt
Klinikum der Universität München
Herzchirurgische Klinik
Marchioninistr. 15
81377 München

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