The consortium is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Ulrich Martin (Leibniz Research Laboratories for Biotechnology and Artificial Organs, LEBAO) and Prof. Dr. Axel Haverich, both Department of Cardiothoracic, Transplantation and Vascular Surgery (HTTG). Further leaders of different subprojects at MHH are PD Dr. Ina Gruh and Dr. Robert Zweigerdt (LEBAO) as well as PD Dr. Serghei Cebotari and Prof. Dr. Samir Sarikouch (HTTG) and Prof. Dr. Ulrike Köhl (ICT). The external partners Prof. Dr. Braun from the Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine (ITEM), Prof. Dr. Susann Boretius and Prof. Dr. Franz-Josef Kaup from the German Primate Center (DPZ), Prof. Dr. Nils Hoppe from the Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences (CELLS) of the Leibniz University Hannover (LUH), Dr. Sebastian Knöbel and Dr. Dominik Eckardt from Miltenyi Biotec as well as Dr. Michael Harder from corlife will also contribute significantly to the joint project.
The non-human primate experiments are performed at the German Primate Center (DPZ) in Göttingen in close collaboration with their scientists, veterinarians and animal caretakers and under strict obedience of legal requirements and animal welfare. Anesthetic procedures for primates established at the DPZ are applied by an anesthesiologist. Additionally, explanation and preparation of the samples for subsequent methods like electron microscopy, immunohistology of frozen and paraffin-embedded sections and molecular detection methods are well-established and are performed by experts in these fields. Clinically and experimentally involved staff from the Department of Cardiothoracic, Transplantation and Vascular Surgery (HTTG) of Hannover Medical School has long-standing experience in transplantation of organs, like lungs or heart, as well as the implantation of bioartificial tissue, like blood vessels or heart valves. Trans- and implantations of tissues are performed routinely in large animal models.
Subproject 1 (MHH: Cebotari, Martin; DPZ, ITEM): Transplantation of genetically enriched human iPSC (hiPSC) derived cardiomyocytes (CMs) in a preclinical model of heart repair (non-human primate)
Subproject 2 (MHH: Köhl, Martin; Miltenyi): GMP compliant scale up of iPSC-generation and genetic engineering
Subproject 3 (MHH: Köhl, Zweigerdt; Miltenyi): Clinical scale up of iPSC-CM and MSC production
Subproject 4 (MHH: Zweigerdt; Miltenyi): Development of techniques for enrichment of hPSC-derived cardiomyocyte subtypes
Subproject 5 (MHH: Gruh): Development of a potency assay for iPSCs for clinically applicable
Subproject 6 (MHH: Haverich, Sarikouch): Development of a treatment protocol for intramyocardial iPSC-CM transplantation
Subproject 7 (corlife, CELLS): Development of Marketing Strategies for iCARE from an ethical and legal perspective
Subproject C (MHH: Martin, Haverich): Coordination of the iCARE consortium