Dr. Robert Zweigerdt (left) and Professor Dr. Nico Lachmann with a bioreactor...
Dr. Robert Zweigerdt (left) and Professor Dr. Nico Lachmann with a bioreactor in the laboratory

© Karin Kaiser/MHH

News • Research collaboration

'Cells of the future' might cure lung infections

Healing the body with cells – this is the ambitious goal of scientists at Hannover Medical School (MHH).

With this in mind, Professor Dr. Nico Lachmann and Dr. Robert Zweigerdt have initiated a research collaboration and license agreement with the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk A/S, to combine academic knowhow with the translational power of the industry. The overall aim of the endeavor is to use special stem cells for developing advanced therapies to regenerate failing organs and cure diseases, for which no adequate treatment is currently available. The collaboration agreement was supported by the technology transfer agency Ascenion.

The project relies on so-called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), which can be obtained from patients’ somatic cells by a technology known as “somatic cell reprogramming”. The special feature of the resulting iPS cells is their ability to give rise to any functional cell type of the human body. Thus, iPS cells can be used to generate specific replacement cells in a dish, which subsequently can be returned to a patient as a cure.

Recommended article

MHH scientists have recently enabled continuous production of iPS cell-derived functional blood cells, including macrophages (phagocytes), by using special bioreactors. "Within the framework of the new research collaboration, we are now specifically developing this technique further, to enable a potential use of these macrophages therapeutically and eventually aiming for the first application in a clinical study. So far, there has been no clinical application of iPS cell progenies in Germany," explains Professor Lachmann.

In pre-clinical proof-of-concept experiments, MHH researchers have readily shown that the iPS cells-macrophages have a prominent therapeutic potential to eliminate disease-causing bacteria. Therefore, they have the great potential, for example, for treating patients with severe bacterial infection of the lungs (pneumonia), which do not respond to antibiotics. "The concept of therapeutic application of iPS cell-derived progenies is already about 15 years old. I am very pleased that we can now advance this idea towards real therapies," says Dr. Zweigerdt. 

Source: Hannover Medical School (MHH)


Read all latest stories

Related articles


News • Infection control

Legionnaire's disease: genetic analysis key to understanding risk

Routine sampling of water supplies and genomic sequencing of Legionella bacteria could play a key role in identifying the source of Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks, research suggests.


News • Infectious disease screening

Bronchial organoids and drug discovery applications advance Covid-19 research

A research group from Kyoto developed two in vitro models to study SARS-CoV-2, and showed that they can be used for drug screening for infectious diseases including Covid-19.


News • Immunological memory

How our lungs 'remember' a Covid-19 infection

After infection with SARS-CoV-2, where does the immune system store the memory to provide long-term protection against reinfection? Though numerous studies have examined blood to track immune…

Related products

contextflow Advance Chest CT *

Artificial Intelligence

Dedalus · contextflow Advance Chest CT *

Dedalus HealthCare GmbH


medigration · ImageVision

medigration GmbH
Sarstedt – Low DNA Binding Micro Tubes

Research Use Only

Sarstedt – Low DNA Binding Micro Tubes

Shimadzu – CLAM-2030 CL (IVD)/ CLAM-2030 (RUO)

Mass Spectrometry

Shimadzu – CLAM-2030 CL (IVD)/ CLAM-2030 (RUO)

Shimadzu Europa GmbH
Shimadzu – LCMS-8060NX CL (IVD) / LCMS-8060 NX (RUO)

Mass Spectrometry

Shimadzu – LCMS-8060NX CL (IVD) / LCMS-8060 NX (RUO)

Shimadzu Europa GmbH
Subscribe to Newsletter