Consortium researches artificial liver replacement

A project aims to develop solutions that enable the 3D printing of tissue and thus provide patients with End-Stage Liver Disease an alternative to donor organ transplants.

19.02.2020 · Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Engineering · DWI – Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials · News · Projects

ORGANTRANS – controlled ORGANoids transplantation as enabler for regenerative medicine TRANSlation –  is set up to develop a disruptive solution that enables the 3D printing of tissue-engineered constructs. Coordinated by Centre Suisse d'Electronique et de Microtechnique (CSEM), eight consortium members throughout Europe will create a standardized and automated tissue preparation and maturation platform, which will provide patients with End-Stage Liver Disease (ESLD) an alternative to donor organ transplants.

The ORGANTRANS consortium consists of 8 partners completed by 2 transplantation centers covering the whole value chain from the cell and tissue engineering to liver transplantation under the “compassionate use exemption” regulation. Namely:

  • CSEM (CH) as coordinator and leader for the development of innovative solutions for organoid technology, automated organoid manipulation and sorting, and for microphysiological environments for tissue maturation
  • University of Utrecht (NL) as responsible for cell source (adult stem cell) and for in vitro and in vivo testing
  • Kugelmeiers AG (CH) for standardized production of organoids
  • DWI – Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials (DE) for biomaterials
  • RegenHU AG (CH) for bioprinting
  • Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie (VIB, BE) for vascularization
  • AMIRES (CZ) for project management and dissemination

Leading European transplantation centers are engaged to support the translation into clinics: King’s College London (UK), partner of the project and an External Advisory Board as members, the Heidelberg Transplant Center (DE) and the Institute of Experimental Medicine in Prague (CZ).

The DWI is involved with Prof. Dr.-Ing. Laura De Laporte and her expertise in the field of biohybrid and bioinspired materials for advanced medical applications. Her subproject is focusing on engineering synthetic hydrogels with controlled biochemical, mechanical, and structural properties to grow adult stem cell derived liver organoids in combination with blood vessels to provide nutrients to the growing liver tissue. The hydrogel precursor solution will be designed to render it bioprintable in order to mimic liver architectures.

Organoids: building blocks for personalized liver tissues

There is an indicative need for innovative alternatives to organ donations, and organoids are part of this solution. Under this project’s objectives, patients suffering from ESLD who still have residual healthy liver tissue, will be eligible to have adult stem cells collected, isolated, self-organized into organoids, assembled by printing, and then matured in a first-of-its-kind combination bioreactor.

Replicating an organ as complex as the liver is not without its difficulties, and patient safety is of paramount importance. Aside from creating an alternative to organ donation, an additional key benefit of the ORGANTRANS project is its personalized aspect. By replicating the patient’s own stem cells to construct the liver the chance of organ rejection is mitigated.

All members of the ORGANTRANS consortium have led industry and academia forward in the regenerative medicine domain. The project partners cover the complete knowledge needed for the translation of the novel 3D liver tissue construct for transplantation into clinical application. The Strong added value of this proposed project is in the quality of new and previously established partnerships, which are prerequisites for successful cooperation with a common goal. The establishment of a platform that produces tissue engineered autologous livers for patients in a personalized, time-sensitive manner is a huge milestone, which will firmly place Europe at the forefront of Regenerative Medicine.

Further information and contact

www.dwi.rwth-aachen.de