ECRT Kickbox – Advanced Scientist Grant

PD Dr. Nathanael Raschzok receives one of the 2017 Einstein Center for Regenerative Therapies (ECRT) Kickbox – Advanced Scientist Grant.
Einstein Center for Regenerative Therapies Kickbox – advanced scientist grant. The project is entitled „Overcoming steatotic compromise – Reconstitution of endogenous repair in severely steatotic liver grafts by metabolic reconditioning“. The project will be conducted by Nathanael Raschzok, Angelika Kusch, Duska Dragun, and Igor M. Sauer.

In order to stimulate excellent and creative research ideas that might take regenerative therapies a vital step forward, the Einstein Center offers a special two-stage funding scheme.
At first, the Kickbox seed grant provides a great framework to investigate initial ideas and to develop sound research concepts. Subsequently, the flexible funds enable the realisation of projects that evolved from the Kickbox initiation phase in order to reach the scientific goals of the Einstein Center.


Single Pass Albumin Dialysis – Dose finding study

Artificial Organs accepted our paper „Single Pass Albumin Dialysis (SPAD) – A dose finding study to define optimal albumin concentration and dialysate flowfor publication.
Authors are R.B. Schmuck, G.-H. Nawrot, P. Fikatas, A. Reutzel-Selke, J. Pratschke, and I.M. Sauer.

Aim of these studies was to define the optimal conditions for SPAD in a standardized experimental set-up. Albumin concentration was adjusted to either 1%, 2%, 3%, or 4%, while the flow rate of the dialysate was kept constant at a speed of 700 ml/h. The flow rate of the dialysate was altered between 350, 500, 700, and 1000 ml/h, whereas the albumin concentration was continuously kept at 3%.
This study revealed that the detoxification of albumin bound substances could be improved by increasing the concentration of albumin in the dialysate with an optimum at 3%. A further increase of the albumin concentration to 4% did not lead to a significant increase in detoxification. Furthermore, we observed a gradual increase of the detoxification efficiency for albumin bound substances, from 350 ml/h to 700 ml/h (for bilirubin) or 1000 ml/h (for bile acids) of dialysate flow. Water-soluble toxins (ammonia, creatinine, urea, uric acid) were removed almost completely, regardless of albumin concentration or flow rate.

Ben Strücker: Charité Clinical Scientist

Dr. med Benjamin Strücker successfully applied for the Charité Clinical Scientist 2015 program.

His project is entitled „Humanized Porcine Liver““. Clinical mentor is Prof. Dr. Johann Pratschke, scientific mentors is Priv.-Doz. Dr. med Igor M. Sauer.

The program is supported by Stiftung Charité which was endowed by the entrepreneur Johanna Quandt in order to promote biomedical "knowledge entrepreneurs" that is, change makers in biomedicine at the Charité. The goal of this program is to develop new career paths in clinical specialist medical training. The focus of the training program "Clinical Scientist" is translational research ("bench-to-bedside") which will be realized by a reduction in clinical routine and an improved curriculum with defined goals.

Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology invited us to provide a review on liver support strategies.

The treatment of end-stage liver disease and acute liver failure remains a clinically relevant issue. Although orthotopic liver transplantation is a well-established procedure, whole-organ transplantation is invasive and increasingly limited by the unavailability of suitable donor organs. Artificial and bioartificial liver support systems have been developed to provide an alternative to whole organ transplantation, but despite three decades of scientific efforts, the results are still not convincing with respect to clinical outcome. In this Review, conceptual limitations of clinically available liver support therapy systems are discussed. Furthermore, alternative concepts, such as hepatocyte transplantation, and cutting-edge developments in the field of liver support strategies, including the repopulation of decellularized organs and the biofabrication of entirely new organs by printing techniques or induced organogenesis are analysed with respect to clinical relevance. Whereas hepatocyte transplantation shows promising clinical results, at least for the temporary treatment of inborn metabolic diseases, so far data regarding implantation of engineered hepatic tissue have only emerged from preclinical experiments. However, the evolving techniques presented here raise hope for bioengineered liver support therapies in the future.

Update: The review „Liver support strategies: cutting-edge technologies“ (authors: Benjamin Struecker, Nathanael Raschzok & Igor M. Sauer) is now available here.

IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society

The 35th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC’13) will take place 3-7 July 2013, at the Osaka International Convention Center, in Osaka, Japan.
The conference will cover diverse topics such as biomedical engineering, healthcare technologies, and medical and clinical applications.
The ESAO will be represented via a minisymposium entitled "Artificial Organs for Metabolic Support. The most Challenging Problems". Jan Wojcicki will give a presentation on "Artificial Organs for Metabolic Support: The Most Challenging Problems of Artificial Pancreas", Bernd Stegmayr on "Artificial Organs for Metabolic Support: The Most Challenging Problems in Severe Kidney Injury When Dialysis Is Necessary" and Igor Sauer on "Artificial Organs for Metabolic Support: The Most Challenging Problems of Liver Support".

Perspectives in Liver Transplantation

The International Medical Students Research Congress (IMSRC) gives students the opportunity to present the results of their scientific research projects. IMSRC 2007 will be held between 11-13 of May, 2007 at Istanbul University, Cerrahpaşa Medical Faculty. Haluk Morgül, Nathanael Raschzok, Keshraw Karmand and Dominik Modest will present their latest results.

Artificial Liver Support

The 2nd Swiss Experimental Surgery Symposium will be held Thursday 12 and Friday 13 January, 2006 in Geneva, Switzerland. Medical research, especially surgical research, is becoming more and more important in our current world of innovations, fast application of new devices and implementation of new techniques in humans. All these projects necessarily require pre-clinical testing which is normally carried out in large animal trials. Thus, it is of utmost importance to train young researchers, whether medical or veterinary doctors, biologists or engineers in order that they may acquire the necessary competencies.
A wide panel of Swiss and international experts are invited to make it a state-of-the-art symposium. Such meetings are not only important for the teaching of technical aspects, but they also give the opportunity to consider ethical and regulatory aspects of animal use for experimentation. Finally, the human networking aspect of such a meeting and exchanging ideas and knowledge is equally important. More information here.

The European artificial organ scene: present status


The XXXII Congress of the European Society for Artificial Organs (ESAO) will be held in Bologna from 5 to 8 October, 2005. The Congress will be combined with the first Congress of the International Federation for Artificial Organs (IFAO), which is a newly formed ISAO-derived umbrella structure, embracing ESAO, the American Society for Artificial Internal Organs (ASAIO), the Japanese Society for Artificial Organs (JSAO) and the International Faculty for Artificial Organs (INFA). The annual "One day on the liver" held by the Liver Support Working Group (LSWG) will have a focus on research concerning liver support in China and will be a kick-off meeting for closer collaboration of the ESAO-LSWG with Chinese groups.

3rd Int. Symp. on Hepatic failure and Artificial Liver

The Institute of Biomedical engineering, Materials Science and Application (BMSA), and the Department of Surgery (GUMC) organise the symposium: Artificial Organs and Organ Transplantation. 18 February, 2005 - Rode Zaal, Groningen University Medical Center, Groningen, The Netherlands This symposium focuses on highlighting a number of aspects of artificial organs and organ transplantation in general and bridging to new therapies of end stage organ disease in particular. The meeting is supported by the European Society for Artificial Organs (ESAO) annd the European Society for Organ Transplantation (ESOT). Download the program...

Artificial Organs and Organ Transplantation

In Vitro Evaluation of the Transportability of Viable Primary Human Liver Cells Originating From Discarded Donor Organs in Bioreactors by Igor M. Sauer, Ruth Schwartlander, Olav van der Jagt, Ingo Steffen, Ekaterina Efimova, Gesine Pless, Daniel C. Kehr, Dimitrios Kardassis, Jan H. Fruhauf, Joerg C. Gerlach, and Peter Neuhaus (Artificial Organs Volume 29 Issue 2 Page 144-151, February 2005) reports on experiments concerning the impact of two major potential threats to viable cells during transport in hollow fiber bioreactors: temperature changes and mechanical stress.
The use of primary human liver cells obtained from discarded donor organs is increasingly favored for cell-based extracorporeal liver support systems. However, as cryopreservation of primary human hepatocytes causes a significant loss of metabolic activity, the transport of bioreactors with viable liver cells is required. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of two major potential threats to viable cells during transport: temperature changes and mechanical stress. Methods: In each experiment three hollow fiber-based bioreactors were charged with primary human liver cells originating from the same discarded donor organ and were simultaneously kept under culture conditions for 8 days. In total, 18 bioreactors were evaluated. On the fifth day the bioreactors were exposed to hypothermia (4°C, n = 3), to hyperthermia (42°C, n = 3), or served as normothermic controls (37°C, n = 3). In a second test series bioreactors were exposed to vibration (21 Hz for 20 min, thereafter 7 Hz for 160 min, n = 3), or were operated as control cultures (n = 6). The release of hepatocyte-specific enzymes was determined as an indicator for cell damage. Results: Hypothermic stress resulted in a significant release of transaminases and led to disturbances of the histological integrity, all indicating a high degree of cell damage. When compared with the control cultures, hyperthermia and mechanical stress in terms of vibration had no significant effect on the cells. Conclusion: The transport of hollow fiber bioreactors charged with viable primary human liver cells appears to be feasible in transport monitors for perfusion and temperature control.  

Transportability of bioreactors

"Blogs" and "Wikis" Are Valuable Software Tools for Communication Within Research Groups (Igor M. Sauer, Dominik Bialek, Ekaterina Efimova, Ruth Schwartlander, Gesine Pless, Peter Neuhaus) was published in the Januar 2005 issue of Artificial Organs, Volume 29 Issue 1 Pages 82-83  - January 2005. Appropriate software tools may improve communication and ease access to knowledge for research groups. A weblog is a website which contains periodic, chronologically ordered posts on a common webpage, whereas a wiki is hypertext-based collaborative software that enables documents to be authored collectively using a web browser. Although not primarily intended for use as an intranet-based collaborative knowledge warehouse, both blogs and wikis have the potential to offer all the features of complex and expensive IT solutions. These tools enable the team members to share knowledge simply and quicklythe collective knowledge base of the group can be efficiently managed and navigated.

Kichchadi sums up some further ideas on using RSS, blogs and wikis in research and education: here and here.
At CiteULike and "Weblogs in Higher Education" further information is available.

M.I.T. Technology Review: Regenerative Medizin

The Editor-in-Chief of Artificial Organs informed us that the article "Modular Extracorporeal Liver Support" - published in volume 26, issue 8 of Artificial Organs - was among the top 10 most cited for the year 2003!

Article on "MELS" in top 10 most cited AO articles

Prior to the GASL meeting 2005 the FALK Symposium No 145: "Artificial Liver Support" will take place in Ulm, January 27-28, 2005.
The Falk Symposium No145 on Artificial Liver Support is held to provide an overview on the possibilities and limitations of the up-to-now existing procedures and devices available for artificial liver support. Future perspectives like stem cell differentiation and their therapeutical implications will also be discussed. Leading experts in the field of artificial devices, bioartificial devices, hepatocyte transplantation and stem cells will present the latest data on the various topics, thus promising a very exciting meeting which will be of high interest for all clinicians involved in the treatment of hepatic failure.
More information via The program is available here. Registration may be performed via this document.

FALK Symposium No 145: "Artificial Liver Support"

For more information on this year's ESAO meeting in Warsaw including the full program please visit

ESAO 2004: Working Group Liver Support


More than 200 unique visits were registered during the first month. Thanks for all the comments and critics!

Evaluation of bioreactor systems

Via Stüber's Online Library more than 270 historic books in the fields of anatomy, botany, biology and genetics can be accessed. Amongst others Rudolf Virchow's "Die Freiheit der Wissenschaft im modernen Staat" (1877) is available!


Hepatology: SPAD vs. MARS

Dear Colleagues,
The deadline for abstract submission is approaching (26th of April).
Unfortunately, up to now, very few contributions have been submitted. We ask
all of you to prepare abstracts as well as to stimulate other researchers to
submit appropriate contribution.
Think about supporting ESAO and Warsaw ESAO Congress !

MELS CellModule vs. AMC-BAL

The Retreat 2007 of the group took place in Binz, a small seaside village on the German island Ruegen. Venue was the coast guard station designed an built by the architect Ulrich Müther. It was built in 1968 and serves as a great example of the hyperbal concrete structures that he used in most of his works (for more information [in German] see article in brand eins 9/2003: "Nach der Utopie" .

Management of Acute Kidney Problems

SPAD in children with acute liver failure

Our latest paper on "Monitoring of liver cell transplantation in a preclinical swine model using magnetic resonance imaging" has been accepted for publication in CELL Medicine (Part B of CELL TRANSPLANTATION). Authors are Nathanael Raschzok, Ulf Teichgräber, Nils Billecke, Anja Zielinski, Kirsten Steinz, Nora N. Kammer, Mehmet H. Morgul, Sarah Schmeisser, Michaela K. Adonopoulou, Lars Morawietz, Bernhard Hiebl, Ruth Schwartlander, Wolfgang Rüdinger, Bernd Hamm, Peter Neuhaus and Igor M. Sauer. The study was based on the excellent colaboration with the department of Radiology and the Institute of Pathology, both Charité - Campus Mitte, Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany, the Centre for Biomaterial Development and Berlin-Brandenburg Centre for Regenerative Therapies (BCRT), Institute for Polymer Research, GKSS Research Centre Geesthacht GmbH, Teltow, Germany, the Department of Materials, ETH Zurich, Zurich, C Switzerland, and Cytonet GmbH, Weinheim, Germany.
Liver cell transplantation (LCT) is a promising treatment approach for certain liver diseases, but clinical implementation requires methods for non-invasive follow-up. Labeling with superparamagnetic iron oxide particles can enable the detection of cells with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We investigated the feasibility of monitoring transplanted liver cells by MRI in a preclinical swine model and used this approach to evaluate different routes for cell application. Liver cells were isolated from landrace piglets and labeled with micron-sized iron oxide particles (MPIO) in adhesion. Labeled cells (n = 10), native cells (n = 3) or pure particles (n = 4) were transplanted to minipigs via intraportal infusion into the liver, direct injection into the splenic parenchyma, or intra-arterial infusion to the spleen. Recipients were investigated by repeated 3.0 Tesla MRI and computed tomography angiography up to 8 weeks after transplantation. Labeling with MPIO, which are known to have a strong effect on the magnetic field, enabled non-invasive detection of cell aggregates by MRI. Following intraportal application, which is commonly applied for clinical LCT, MRI was able to visualize the microembolization of transplanted cells in the liver that were not detected by conventional imaging modalities. Cells directly injected into the spleen were retained, whereas cell infusions intraarterially into the spleen led to translocation and engraftment of transplanted cells in the liver, with significantly fewer microembolisms compared to intraportal application. These findings demonstrate that MRI can be a valuable tool for non-invasive elucidation of cellular processes of LCT and - if clinically applicable MPIO are available - for monitoring of LCT under clinical conditions.  Moreover, the results clarify mechanisms relevant for clinical practice of LCT, suggesting that the intra-arterial route to the spleen deserves further evaluation.