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Tissue Engineering

Tübingen's researchers and clinicians are in the vanguard when it comes to cultivating new tissue out of a patient's own autologousi cell material. They are developing novel transplants for application in orthopedics, urology, dermatology, and other fields. Their efforts are supported by an array of innovative biotechnology companies in the region which themselves belong to the true pioneers and success stories of the area of tissue engineering.

Basic research flourishes in Tübingen as well. Inside the zrm's network, researchers are examining the differentiationi processes that lead to the creation of functioning tissues. The better these differentiation processes can be understood and regulated, the closer artificial tissue from the laboratory will come to its natural model.

The goal of all these efforts is an ambitious one: to heal degenerative diseases of the cartilage, for example, to replace functional units such as heart valves with autologous tissue that grows with the body, and to transplant laboratory-grown skin that can take over all the functions of its natural counterpart.

University-affiliated research institutes such as the NMI Reutlingen, the MITT (Competence Centre for Minimally Invasive Medicine and Technology Tübingen-Tuttlingen) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgart spur on developments in tissue engineering in Tübingen with a myriad of joint projects.

The following hospitals and institutes of the Eberhard Karls University are involved in research and therapy in the area of tissue engineering:

Institute of Anatomy

  • Development of model tissues and bioreactors to simulate and analyze applications
  • Cultivation of artificial skin using adult stem cells from bone marrow
  • Cultivation of intestinal epitheliumi<

Medical Microbiology and Hygiene Department

  • The use of bacterial cell surface proteins to stimulate vascularization in cultured tissues

Dept. of Plastic, Hand, Reconstructive and Burn Surgery, BG Trauma Center

  • Cultivation of artificial skin using adult stem cells from bone marrow
  • Consulting service for research groups developing industrial skin systems for test purposes (substitute for animal experiments)

Department of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Diseases (Internal Medicine III)

  • Modulation of endothelial tissue in blood vessels to encourage therapeutic "homing" behavior of stem cells

Hospital of Neurosurgery

  • Regeneration of nerve tissue in the central nervous system (e.g. for the restoration of hearing)

Department of Radiation Oncology

  • Cultivation of artificial skin using adult stem cells from bone marrow

Department of Thoracic, Cardiac and Vascular Surgery

  • Development of self-colonizing vascular prostheses and heart valve transplants (production of endothelial layer)

Clinic for Urology

  • Cultivation of a multi-layered urothelium for the reconstruction of urethras

Centre of Dentistry, Oral Medicine and Maxillofacial Surgery

  • Cultivation of bone tissue for large-scale defects in the jawbone
  • Development of vascularization strategies for cultivated bone tissue
  • Research into the proliferation and differentiation of periosteum to bone tissue

Orthopaedic Clinic

  • Documentation of the regenerative potential of cultured cartilage tissue
  • Research into the interactions between cultivated cartilage tissue, scaffold materials and tissues in situ
  • Cultivation of meniscus and vertebral tissue

Hospital of Radiology, Department of Diagnostic Radiology

  • Optimization of MRT (magnetic resonance tomography) to monitor the healing of cultivated cartilage and other regenerative tissues