DFG Promotes Research into New Methods of Transplantation – DZD Partner Is Involved

The German Research Foundation (DFG) has awarded a follow-up grant worth more than EUR 15 million for a research program on xenotransplantation, which is unique in the world. The grant will fund four more years of research at TU Dresden in collaboration with Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Technische Universität München and Hannover Medical School as well as four other research institutes. The renowned King’s College London is also involved in the project.

The speakers of the program are among others Professor Dr. med. vet. Eckhard Wolf of LMU München, which is  an associated DZD partner, and Professor Stefan Bornstein, on-site  speaker in Dresden und director of the Department of Internal Medicine III at University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden, which is also a partner in the DZD. This grant shall enable patients with diabetes who have severe blood glucose fluctuations to receive a new therapy by means of a specially developed oxygenated chamber system for islet (insulin-producing) cells from a pig’s pancreas.

Islet cell transplantation only in Dresden
Organ and cell transplants are a treatment of choice in some chronic diseases, in which other therapies do not or no longer promise any success. This is for example the case in liver cirrhosis, in imminent or actual renal failure or in type 1 diabetes with a severe disease course. The spectrum of transplantations also includes islet cell transplantation, which in Germany is currently only offered in Dresden. In this type of transplantation the insulin-producing cells are removed from a donor organ (pancreas), elaborately prepared and then injected into the liver of the recipient.
Prof. Bornstein: “Many people wait in vain for a life-saving organ because the supply of donor organs is much less than the number of potential recipients. That is why we are looking for new ways to help more people in the future.” Scientists hope to find new ways to achieve this by exploring xenogeneic transplantation or xenotransplantation. In this type of transplant the tissue or organ donors belong to a different species than the recipients.