For many chronic diseases, the replacement of irreversibly damaged organs or tissue is the last therapeutic option. The demand for cells, tissues and organs for transplantation is currently far from being met by the available human donors. Therefore, the use of animal tissues and organs for xenotransplantation has been discussed for more than three decades.
The TRR 127 investigates the biology of xenogeneic cell, tissue and organ transplantation in order to develop concepts for the clinical xenotransplantation of porcine islet cells, heart valves and hearts. The consortium is structured in three project groups, which are supported by central projects in ethical, legal and socio-political questions as well as in questions of microbiological/virological safety.
Project group A develops concepts to attenuate immune reactions against xenotransplants. This includes the downregulation of swine leukocyte antigens, the selection of suitable donor-recipient constellations as well as different approaches of local immune modulation in xenotransplants.
Aim of project group B is the development and characterization of genetically multiply-modified donor pigs for xenogeneic hearts, heart valves, and pancreatic islets.
Project group C conducts preclinical xenotransplantation experiments of pancreatic islets, heart valves and hearts and works out prerequisites for the application for clinical studies.
“In view of the groundbreaking successes in the field of xenogeneic heart transplantation, but also islet cell transplantation in preclinical models, we are confident that we will be able to work out the prerequisites for applying for clinical studies in the third funding phase,” says Eckhard Wolf, since 2016 spokesperson of the TRR 127, which was initiated in 2012 by the renowned heart surgeon Bruno Reichart.