Myocardial and Vascular Tissue Engineering

Despite the medical progress of the last decades, end-stage heart failure is still one of the remaining health care challenges of the 21st century, with tremendous socio-economic implications for the industrialized world due to the associated morbidity and mortality. However, current therapy concepts of end-stage heart failure such as heart transplantation or mechanical assist device therapy are either restricted to a “lucky few” due to donor organ shortage or are still flawed by a high complication rates, thus increasing the need for alternatives. Here, one of the most innovative approaches is being pioneered by the cardiovascular tissue engineering field, which promotes the fabrication of bioartificial cardiac tissues either to support or replace failing hearts.

The Myocardial and Vascular Tissue Engineering Research Group of the Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, headed by Dr. med. H. Aubin, has set its focus in the creation of vascularized and functional myocardial tissues based on native-derived extracellular matrix (ECM) scaffolds. Following a comprehensive and interdisciplinary research philosophy, our research group covers a broad spectrum of projects from basic research over bioprocessing technology to translational science, including:

  • Optimization and biomonitoring of decellularization techniques
  • Biofunctionalization of native-derived ECM scaffolds
  • IPS cell cardiac lineage differentiation within cardiac-ECM-derived stem cell niches
  • Creation of “real-cardiac”-like in vitro model systems
  • Preclinical small animal models of bioartificial myocardial support
  • Customized bioreactors systems for myocardial tissue engineering
  • Implementation of bioprocessing strategies for the cultivation of functional myocardial tissue   
  • “Human-scale” myocardial tissue engineering
  • Whole-heart tissue engineering

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  • Aubin H., Mas-Moruno C., Iijima M., Schütterle N., Steinbrink M., Assmann A., Gil FJ., Lichtenberg A., Pegueroles M., Akhyari P. (2016) Customized Interface Biofunctionalization of Decellularized Extracellular Matrix: Toward Enhanced Endothelialization. Tissue Eng Part C: Methods, 22(5):496-508.
  • Hülsmann J., Aubin H., Wehrmann A., Jenke A., Lichtenberg A., Akhyari P. (2016) Whole-Heart Construct Cultivation Under 3D Mechanical Stimulation of the Left Ventricle.. Methods Mol Biol. 2016 Feb 12. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Hülsmann, J., Aubin, H., Bandesha, S. T., Kranz, A., Stoldt, V. R., Lichtenberg, A., & Akhyari, P. (2015) Rheology of perfusates and fluid dynamical effects during whole organ decellularization: A perspective to individualize decellularization protocols for single organs. Biofabrication, 7(3), 035008.
  • Aubin, H., Hülsmann, J., Pinto, A., Lichtenberg, A., & Akhyari, P. (2015). Whole-Heart Tissue Engineering: Use of Three-Dimensional Matrix Scaffolds. In Biomaterials for Cardiac Regeneration (pp. 215-237). Springer International Publishing.
  • Aubin, H., Kranz, A., Hülsmann, J., Pinto, A., Barth, M., Fomin, A., Lichtenberg, A., Akhyari, P. (2013) A novel native derived coronary artery tissue-flap model. Tissue Engineering - Part C: Methods, 19 (12), pp. 970-980. 
  • Aubin, H., Kranz, A., Hülsmann, J., Lichtenberg, A., Akhyari, P. (2013) Decellularized whole heart for bioartificial heart. Methods in Molecular Biology, 1036, pp. 163-178. 
  • Hülsmann, J., Aubin, H., Kranz, A., Godehardt, E., Munakata, H., Kamiya, H., Barth, M., Lichtenberg, A., Akhyari, P. (2013) A novel customizable modular bioreactor system for whole-heart cultivation under controlled 3D biomechanical stimulation. Journal of Artificial Organs, 16 (3), pp. 294-304. 
  • H. Aubin , P. Akhyari, A. Khademhosseini, A. Lichtenberg. (2012) Gezielte dreidimensionale Zellausrichtung und -elongation in artifiziellen Geweben. ZfHTG, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 188-195
  • Akhyari, P., Barth, M., Aubin, H., & Lichtenberg, A. (2011). Strategies for Myocardial Tissue Engineering: The Beat Goes On. In Myocardial Tissue Engineering (pp. 49-79). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
  • Akhyari, P., Aubin, H., Gwanmesia, P., Barth, M., Hoffmann, S., Huelsmann, J., ... & Lichtenberg, A. (2011). The quest for an optimized protocol for whole-heart decellularization: a comparison of three popular and a novel decellularization technique and their diverse effects on crucial extracellular matrix qualities. Tissue Engineering Part C: Methods, 17(9), 915-926.
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