ECRT - Advanced Scientist Grant
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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. Congratulations!
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Single Pass Albumin Dialysis – Dose finding study
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Artificial Organs accepted our paper „Single Pass Albumin Dialysis (SPAD) – A dose finding study to define optimal albumin concentration and dialysate flow“ for 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. 
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Ben Strücker: Charité Clinical Scientist
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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.
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Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology
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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.
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IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society
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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".
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Labelling of hepatocytes in suspension culture
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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.
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