Harvard's Wyss Institute and University of Zurich announce partnership

Collaboration will speed clinical translation of cardiovascular tissue engineering technologies for repairing and regenerating the diseased heart.

The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and the University of Zurich jointly announced a formal partnership today. University of Zurich, one of Europe's leading Universities, becomes the Wyss Institute's 11th collaborating institution, joining Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston University, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Tufts University and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.

"Our alliance with the University of Zurich and its Swiss Center for Regenerative Medicine expands the Institute’s reach even more," said Wyss Institute Founding Director Don Ingber, M.D., Ph.D. "It will also help us to accelerate translation of our cardiovascular tissue engineering technologies into the clinic – nicely complementing our existing consortium of partners."

The announcement formalizes and elevates an existing collaboration between Wyss Core Faculty member Kit Parker, Ph.D., and, Simon P. Hoerstrup, MD, Ph.D., Director of the Swiss Center for Regenerative Medicine (SCRM) and the Regenerative Medicine and Organoid Technology Research Program (REMEDI) at the University of Zurich, , who was previously a Visiting Scholar at the Wyss Institute. The two have worked together over the last year on various cardiovascular tissue engineering research projects, including engineering of an artificial heart valve. As part of the new agreement, Hoerstrup has been appointed a Wyss Associate Faculty member. "

This is a truly inspiring and exciting collaboration," said Hoerstrup. "As a highly interdisciplinary combined team, we can deliver new technologies and innovative therapies from bench to bedside much more efficiently." The collaboration will allow scientists from Zurich to work with the Wyss Institute in Boston, and vice versa.

The Wyss Institute will gain access to SCRM’s clinically relevant large animal models, Good Manufacturing Process (GMP)-level and Good Clinical Practice (GCP)-level platforms and facilities for pre-clinical animal trials and clinical pilot trials. Parker, who is also the Tarr Family Professor of Bioengineering and Applied Physics at Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), said Hoerstrup and SCRM researchers with whom he has worked are particularly skilled in the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. "Strengthening our collaboration with the SCRM team will further accelerate the translation of our cardiac tissue engineering approaches into human therapies, particularly therapies for children" he said.

Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University

nullnullThe Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University uses Nature's design principles to develop bioinspired materials and devices that will transform medicine and create a more sustainable world. Working as an alliance among Harvard's Schools of Medicine, Engineering, and Arts & Sciences, and in partnership with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston Children's Hospital, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Boston University, Tufts University – and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, and the University of Zurich, the Institute crosses disciplinary and institutional barriers to engage in high-risk research that leads to transformative technological breakthroughs. By emulating Nature's principles, Wyss researchers are developing innovative new engineering solutions for healthcare, energy, architecture, robotics, and manufacturing. These technologies are translated into commercial products and therapies through collaborations with clinical investigators, corporate alliances, and new start-ups. The Wyss Institute recently won the prestigious Webby Award, as well as the World Technology Network award for innovation in biotechnology.null http://wyss.harvard.edu null Swiss Center for Regenerative Medicine at University of Zurich The Swiss Center for Regenerative Medicine is located at the Medical Campus of the University of Zurich in close proximity and integrated into leading Swiss University Hospitals. The goal is to apply the principles of regenerative medicine and organoid technologies to “next generation therapies”. As a highly integrated and interdisciplinary translational research center and core facility for “Good Manufacturing Practice” (GMP), the SCRM aims at the safe and efficient translation of basic biomedical research to applied regenerative therapies. As such, the SCRM enables the integration of various basic science and clinical research activities, including developmental biology, cell biology, stem cell biology, tissue engineering, biomedical engineering and biomaterial science. The SCRM is organized in (1) a clinical translation arm with a state-of-the-art, fully regulatory compliant GMP infrastructure for cell-based regenerative technologies, and (2) a multidisciplinary research arm (Regenerative Medicine and Organoid Technology Research Program (www.remedi.uzh.ch)). A combination of approaches such as gene therapy, stem cell transplantation, macro- and micro-scale tissue engineering, functionalized biomaterials, and the reprogramming of cell and tissue types is utilized. The enrollment of clinical studies in the field of regenerative medicine and organoid technologies according to Good Clinical Practice (GCP) is undertaken in collaboration with the national and international regulatory authorities (Swissmedic, EMA, FDA). The SCRM is designed to be the premier Swiss Center for research, training and technology transfer in regenerative medicine and organoid technologies. null http://www.scrm.uzh.ch/index.html null