Stem cell research at the University of Essen
The University Clinic in Essen is conducting stem cell research on somatic stem cells from humans and animals, as well as on embryo stem cells of non-human primates. One major focus is on somatic blood stem cells, which can be isolated from bone marrow and umbilical cord blood, as well as from peripheral blood after the administration of cytokine.
For more than 26 years the Essen-based clinic has regularly treated a range of diseases with transplantations of haematopoetic stem cells taken either from the recipient (autologous), or from suitable donors (allogeneic). These activities are carried out in a special Bone Marrow Transplant Clinic. In cooperation with the Department of Internal Medicine (cancer research) and the Department of Haematology, stem cell transplants have been conducted on more than 2,200 patients.
Parallel to these therapeutic programmes research projects are underway in the fields of cellular and molecular biology, animal experiments, and clinical studies. These projects all benefit from the on-site expertise in cell extraction, cell separation, cell conservation and the phenotyping of blood stem cells.
Apart from numerous in vivo models for the transplantation of haematopoetic cells in mice and rats, the working groups also have access to a unit which uses DNA micro-array technology to examine differentially expressed gene patterns. The main focus of activities is on the following: characterisation and genetic modification of haematopoetic cells from humans and mice; study of the differentiation of blood stem cells in parenchymatous tissue such as cardiac muscle or liver cells; effects of cytokine-induced mobilisation of bone marrow stem cells on the functioning of a damaged heart; and the examination of the role of blood stem cells in the regeneration of tissue damaged by radiation therapy.
In the field of ophthalmology research is being conducted on the epithelial precursor cells of the cornea. Experiments in the field of embryo stem cells are using stem cells from non-human primates to assess whether stem cells are pluri- and/or toti-potent, the focus being on the relationship between the differentiation potential and pattern-forming properties of embryo stem cells.
At the University Clinic, Essen, in short, numerous institutes in the fields of clinical and theoretical research are benefiting from input from the transplantation departments and cooperating closely with a view to effectively researching the potential use of stem cell differentiation in new therapies.
Your representative of the Stem Cell Network NRW at Essen University is Professor Peter Horn.
You can reach him at 0049 (0) 201-723-2178.