Prof. Dirk STRUNK
Paracelsus MedUni in Salzburg
Institut für Experimentelle und Klinische Zelltherapie
"Regenerative therapies for broken hearts & bones & sore skin"
REGENERATION describes the renewed formation, development, natural restoration of injured, dead tissue (Oxford Dictionary). REGENERATIVE MEDICINE is a rather young discipline dedicated to treating diseases by strengthening the body's own regenerative potential. Regenerative roadblocks including resident stem/progenitor cell paucity, fibrosis and/or scarring in response to injury and chronic inflammation often hinder endogenous regeneration (SCIENCE 380:796-8; 2023). Regenerative therapies tackle such regenerative roadblocks to replace the tissue components that were compromised or lost by disease or injury. In cases of irreversible damage to organs or tissues, this involves the targeted use of cells, engineered tissues or organoids and, where necessary, whole organs.
The Cell Therapy Institute at Paracelsus Medical University Salzburg is developing cell-based platform technologies to be applied in regenerative medicine for various disease entities. Examples will be presented for using HLA-homozygous induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocyte aggregates (iPS-CMA) to fix ‘broken hearts’ (www.mhh.de/en/lebao/research/heal) and for deciphering epigenomic mechanisms underlying the skeletal regeneration capacity of bone- and cartilage-forming progenitor cells (www.science.org/doi/10.1126/scitranslmed.abm7477). A more complex iPS-derived floating skin organoid model will be discussed demonstrating the superordinate progenitor self-organization competence that can be used to build patient-derived organoids (PDO) and patient-derived xenotransplant (PDX) models for validating novel cell-based or gene therapies, e.g. for epidermolysis bullosa (www.thno.org/v11p8430). Another example from most recent ongoing research includes advanced cell-based therapies for osteoarthritis (https://proto-horizon.eu). As an overarching topic we will discuss the role of nanometer-sized cell-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) as a newly discovered trophic mode of action of cell-based therapies (www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169409X21002647) and the applicability of EVs as biomarkers of disease and for therapy monitoring (www.nexgen-pd.eu).
Host: Ulrike RESCH
Contact for questions: Helmut KUBISTA