One of today’s grand medical challenges is an increasing shortage of organ donors. Laboratory-grown, functional organ replacements could present a viable alternative. The German Federal Ministry of Research and Education (BMBF) kicked-off its new, technology focused funding instrument SPRIN-D with a competition to turn "lab-grown organ replacement" into reality.
Matthias Meier, heading the Bioengineering and Microfluidics group at Helmholtz Pioneer Campus, seed and project-lead of the Helmholtz Munich-routed eISLET consortium has now been announced as one of the BMBF’s Innovation award winner, tagged with a grant of up to 1 million Euros.
The eISLET consortium bundles the developmental and single-cell expertise of Heiko Lickert’s Institute of Diabetes and Regeneration, Henrik Semb’s recognized stem-cell and translational know-how within the Institute of Translational Stem Cell Research and technological platforms for the physiological interrogation of beta-cell mass developed by Stephan Speier, Head of the Pancreatic Islet Physiology Group at the Institute for Pancreatic Islet Cell Research.
Meier’s proven expertise in building integrative organ-chip technologies promises to accelerate the shared vision of the eISLET researchers: through facilitating encapsulation methods with the capability to ‘vascularize’ lab-grown mini-organs, a pre-requisite to ensure sufficient nutrient supply even under the harsh condition of transplantation. Both, the proposal and expertise of the eISLET consortium convinced the international jury of the BMBF innovation call to generate functional islet transplants for type 1 diabetes within the coming three years.
More info on the BMBF competition: https://www.bmbf.de/de/sprunginnovationen-zum-organersatz-2-x-herz-1-x-bauchspeicheldruese-11638.html
Link to the HMGU announcement: https://nip.helmholtz-muenchen.de/en/informationkommunikation/announcements/news/news/article/45699/index.html