Science and Research

Regeneration & Organ Replacement

Acute and chronic lung diseases can lead to terminal lung failure. The aim of research in this area of the DZL is to enable affected patients to survive with good quality of life. If ventilation is not sufficient, Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) and Lung Transplantation (LTx) are available options. Although the duration of ECMO treatment is still limited, the lung may potentially regenerate during ECMO (e.g., in cases of influenza, COVID-19). In cases of irreversible lung damage, LTx remains the only treatment option, but it is only possible for selected patients due to organ shortage and various contraindications (e.g., lung tumors). Additionally, the long-term prognosis after LTx regarding morbidity and mortality is not satisfactory due to frequent chronic lung allograft dysfunction (CLAD). Therefore, current research aims to improve the hemocompatibility and biocompatibility of ECMO systems and to develop an intracorporeal "biohybrid lung". In the context of LTx, pre- and post-care are optimized to ensure optimal recipient selection and to prevent or early detect, classify, and individually treat CLAD. Following recent successes in xenogeneic transplantation of pig hearts, the shortage of lungs is also being addressed through the establishment of xenotransplantation. Furthermore, the development of an artificial lung using tissue engineering is being advanced. The latter is made possible by significant progress in the differentiation of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) into various lung cell types. Decellularized lungs are intended to be populated, and new lungs are to be manufactured using 3D printing.

Scientific Coordinators of the Disease Area

Prof. Dr. Dr. med. Nikolaus Kneidinger (CPC-M)
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Martin (BREATH)
Dr. med. Lavinia Neubert (BREATH)

Administrative Coordinator of the Disease Area

Dr. Annegret Zurawski (BREATH)

Participating DZL Partner Sites


DZL Engagements