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DFG Research Grant
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Priv.-Doz. Dr. Nathanael Raschzok receives a research grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) for his project "Defatting of steatotic liver grafts by normothermic ex vivo machine perfusion with DNP" in collaboration with Prof. Dr. med. Andreas Birkenfeld, Universitätsklinikum Carl Gustav Carus, Dresden.

Transplantation of steatotic marginal liver grafts is associated with a certain risk of graft dysfunction, primary non-function, and biliary complications, which results in a worse outcome compared to transplantation of unimpaired livers.
We hypothesize, that normothermic machine perfusion combined with adequate pharmacological intervention can prevent the deleterious effect of ischemia-reperfusion injury on macrovesicular grafts by a) minimizing the negative effect of cold storage, and by b) actively decreasing the intracellular fat content of the graft.
Mild mitochondrial uncoupling by DNP decreases the intrahepatic fat content of steatotic liver grafts during normothermic ex vivo machine perfusion. Efficient defatting can be safely achieved ex vivo with DNP concentrations that would be toxic in vivo. Systemic side effects of DNP are prevented by exclusive hepatic exposure through machine perfusion, and by washing DNP out of the liver graft at the end of the perfusion period. The synergetic effects of normothermic perfusion and defatting with DNP will prevent ischemia-reperfusion injury and make severely steatotic liver grafts acceptable for transplantation.
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SFB 1365 Renoprotection
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The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) is establishing ten new Collaborative Research Centres (CRCs, Sonderforschungsbereich, SFB) to further support top-level research in Germany.
Chronic kidney diseases and acute kidney damage are widespread and reduce the life expectancy of those affected. The CRC “Renoprotection” therefore aims to decode specific signalling pathways for kidney damage and develop new approaches to treatment in the long term (Charité Berlin – FU Berlin and HU Berlin, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Pontus Börje Persson).
With the project "Renoprotective role of Lipocalin-2 in allograft rejection following kidney transplantation" Priv.-Doz. Dr. Felix Aigner and Dr. Muhammad Imtiaz Ashraf, PhD will be part of this SFB/CRC!

To provide allograft renoprotection, novel strategies are needed, including (i) prevention of renal allograft IRI and (ii) targeted immunosuppression and thus; reduction and avoidance of steroid and CNI usage in the long-run. Using a mouse model of kidney transplantation, we recently demonstrated a renoprotective role of exogenously administered recombinant Lcn2:Siderophore:Fe complex (rLcn2). The rLcn2 mediated mechanism of allograft renoprotection is still unknown; however, the mechanistic insight is essential for comprehensive translation of the rLcn2 therapy into clinical practice. In the funded project, we aim at (i) understanding the route and mechanisms of immunoregulation and/or cytoprotection, mediated by exogenously administered rLcn2 during the allograft damage; and (ii) characterizing the source and nature of endogenous Lcn2 i.e. whether it is complexed with mammalian iron binding catechols and may contribute to allograft survival in the long-run. Our ultimate goal is to pave the way for transplant renoprotection via recombinant Lcn2.

More information…
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Mathilde Feist and Paul Ritschl: Clinician Scientists
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Dr. Mathilde Feist and Dr. Paul Ritschl successfully applied for the BIH Charité Clinician Scientist Program. Mathilde Feist will work on "Cytokine-armed oncolytic vaccinia virus for pancreatic cancer therapy". Mentors are Prof. Bahra, Prof. Sauer and Prof. Beling.
Paul Ritschl focusses on "The Impact of Donor Derived Microparticles Following Solid Organ Transplantation". Mentors are Priv.-Doz. Dr. Schmelzle and Priv.-Doz Dr. Öllinger.
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Hendrik Napierala defended his thesis summa cum laude
Today, Hendrik Napierala defended his thesis "Rebesiedlung dezellularisierter Rattenpankreata mit Langerhans-Inseln" summa cum laude!

Congratulations !
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Wibke Schulte: BIH Charité Clinician Scientist
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Dr. med. Wibke Schulte successfully applied for the BIH Charité Clinician Scientist Program with her project „Die Rolle von MIF in der humanen akuten Peritonitis | Role of MIF in human acute peritonitis“. Mentors are Priv.-Doz. Dr. med. Felix Aigner and Prof. Dr. Igor M. Sauer.
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Barbara Kern: BIH Charité Clinician Scientist
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Dr. Barbara Kern successfully applied for the BIH Charité Clinician Scientist Program. With her project "Novel Treatment and Diagnostic Approaches Utilizing the Role of Dendritic Cells in Immune Responsivness" Barbara will be engaged in our Vascular Tissue Allotransplantation Initiative (Project VCA). The Clinician Scientist Program is a modern career pathway within academic medicine that allows physicians to pursue a structured residency with time set aside for clinical and basic research. At the end of the program, participants will have completed their residency and, ideally, their postdoctoral teaching qualification (Habilitation). The program is intended to produce a new generation of scientists with translational training who will help speed up the rate at which scientific findings are translated into application.
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ESOT The Future of Transplantation
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The ESOT YPT Workshop and its Presidential Debate gives you a chance to engage with a variety of speakers in a lively ‘town hall’ format, as well as connecting with other young transplant professionals from around the world. The session will begin with talks from three key presenters on the past, present, and future of transplantation and open Q&As with each presenter. 

09:00– 10:35 - The future of transplantation: 3 lectures on Past, Present and Future CHAIRS: Alice Koenig, Lyon, France   Thomas Resch, Innsbruck, Austria
09:05 Lecture: The future of transplantation - Historical Perspective Sir Roy Calne, Cambridge, United Kingdom 09:25 Open Q&A with Roy Calne
09:35 Lecture: The future of transplantation - Present perspective Jan Lerut, Brussels, Belgium 09:55 Open Q&A with Jan Lerut
10:05 Lecture: The future of transplantation - Future perspective  Igor Sauer, Berlin, Germany
10:25 Open Q&A with Igor Sauer
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Cells isolated from diseased explanted livers
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The International Journal of Artificial Organs (official journal of the European Society for Artificial Organs [ESAO]) published our paper on Isolation, characterization and cold storage of cells isolated from diseased explanted livers. Authors are Belaschk E, Rohn S, Mukiibi R, Reutzel-Selke A, Tang P, Sawitzki B, Pratschke J, Sauer IM and Mogl MT.

Livers discarded after standard organ retrieval are commonly used as a cell source for hepatocyte transplantation. Due to the scarcity of organ donors, this leads to a shortage of suitable cells for transplantation. Here, the isolation of liver cells from diseased livers removed during liver transplantation is studied and compared to the isolation of cells from liver specimens obtained during partial liver resection. Hepatocytes from 20 diseased explanted livers (Ex-group) were isolated, cultured and stored at 4°C for up to 48 hours, and compared to hepatocytes isolated from the normal liver tissue of 14 liver lobe resections (Rx-group). The nonparenchymal cell fraction (NPC) was analyzed by flow cytometry to identify potential liver progenitor cells, and OptiPrep™ (Sigma-Aldrich) density gradient centrifugation was used to enrich the progenitor cells for immediate transplantation. There were no differences in viability, cell integrity and metabolic activity in cell culture and survival after cold storage when comparing the hepatocytes from the Rx-group and the Ex-group. In some cases, the latter group showed tendencies of increased resistance to isolation and storage procedures. The NPC of the Ex-group livers contained considerably more EpCAM+ and significantly more CD90+ cells than the Rx-group. Progenitor cell enrichment was not sufficient for clinical application. Hepatocytes isolated from diseased explanted livers showed the essential characteristics of being adequate for cell transplantation. Increased numbers of liver progenitor cells can be isolated from diseased explanted livers. These results support the feasibility of using diseased explanted livers as a cell source for liver cell transplantation.
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Recellularization of rat livers: morphology and function
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The Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine accepted our paper „Evolution of graft morphology and function after recellularization of decellularized rat livers“ for publication.

Decellularization of livers is a well-established procedure. Data on different reseeding techniques or the functional evolution and re-organization processes of repopulated grafts remains limited. 

We established a proprietary, customized bioreactor to repopulate decellularized rat livers (n=21) with primary rat hepatocytes (150 x 106 cells) via the hepatic artery and to subsequently evaluate graft morphology and function during seven days of ex vivo perfusion. Grafts were analyzed at 1h, 6h, 12h, 24h, 3d, 5d and 7d after recellularization (all n=3) by immunohistologic evaluation, hepatocyte-related enzyme (AST, ALT, LDH) and albumin measurement in the perfusate. 
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first available protocol for repopulation of rat livers via the hepatic artery. Within the first 24 hours after repopulation, the hepatocytes seemed to migrate out of the vascular network and form clusters in the parenchymal space around the vessels. Graft function increased for the first 24 hours after repopulation with a significantly higher function compared to standard 2D culture after 24 hours. Thereafter, graft function constantly decreased with significantly lower values after six and seven days of perfusion, although histologically viable hepatocytes were found even after this period. Our data suggests that due to a constant loss of function, repopulated grafts should potentially be implanted as soon as cell engraftment and graft re-organization are completed. 

Authors are Antje Butter, Khalid Aliyev, Karl-Herbert Hillebrandt, Nathanael Raschzok, Martin Kluge, Nicolai Seiffert, Peter Tang, Hendrik Napierala, Muhammad Imtiaz Ashraf, Anja Reutzel-Selke, Andreas Andreou, Johann Pratschke, Igor Maximilian Sauer, and Benjamin Struecker.
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