Vascular and Regenerative Medicine

Our Research

Regenerative medicine aims at restoring normal function through repair or replacement of damaged tissues and organs. Poor vasculature in combination with metabolic disease is often the cause of tissue or organ damage in, for example diabetes, kidney disease and heart failure. The research teams within the Vascular and Regenerative Medicine profile (V&RM) strive towards a better understanding of the fundamental biology and pathology of these diseases to allow the development of therapeutic applications via regenerative medicine approaches.

Promoting the translation of basic research to the clinic  

The various research programs participating in V&RM create synergistic interactions promoting the translation of basic research to the clinic. Epidemiological data and data obtained through metabolic, genomic and proteomic profiling will provide indicators of disease. These indicators will form the basis for the development of disease models based on stem cells that can be used to develop and establish novel regenerative therapeutic modalities. 

Focus on three major platforms

Indicators for metabolic disease

In this platform epidemiology, pathology, genomics and proteomics are combined to identify disease susceptibility variants in banked tissue samples and genome-wide information data to provide signatures for health and disease. These signatures will be used to design disease models that can serve as surrogates for human disease and will provide insight into the cause of and susceptibility to diseases. The “NEO study” in which the Thrombosis and Heamatostasis, Clinical Epidemiology, Nephrology, Endocrinology and Cardiology departments collaborate is a nice example of the collaborative effort within this platform. 

Organs on a Chip

This platform takes in vitro testing of therapeutic modalities to the next level. Multi-channel 3-D microfluidic cell culture organs on a chip will be developed to represent human organ tissue to allow testing of various different stem cells in vitro in their appropriate microenvironment. Organ scaffolds loaded with stem cells from healthy and disease afflicted individuals or iPS cells targeted for metabolic disease indicators will be used on these chips to develop and analyse new regenerative therapy concepts. The LUMC hiPSC core facility has a major role in this platform.

Immunological monitoring

The mechanism driving regeneration using stem cells in various disease models is still poorly understood. Immune suppression of inflammation seems to be a prerequisite for regeneration of diseased tissue. This platform will focus on immuno-monitoring of patients receiving regenerative therapy by analysing the immune reconstitution and using biomarker analysis to identify a laboratory signature allowing pre-treatment prediction of patients that will respond to therapy. The foundation for this platform is the already existing strong clinical network in which Europe-wide clinical trials are performed using regenerative medicine based therapies.

News and events

Collaboration

The groups within the V&RM research profile collaborate with national and international colleagues within their respective fields (see research programmes for details). There is an overlap with the Leiden University Research Profile on Vascular and Regenerative Medicine. A tight link has been established with top referral care in stem cell, islet and organ transplantation. Collaborations have been setup within Medical Delta through sharing of the LUMC GMP facility and collaborations with regards to cellular therapies with the EMC and close contacts with the bioinformatics and engineering departments of the TU Delft.

Facilities

The LUMC has a unique infrastructure for translational research geared towards the application of regenerative therapy. This includes a fully operational GMP facility and a manufacturing license for the production of Advanced Investigational Cell and Gene Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMP) and the Centre for Stem Cell Therapy. Several products including beta cells for diabetes and Mesenchymal Stromal Cells for and kidney and cardiovascular diseases and for patients receiving Stem Cell Transplantations are currently produced and clinically tested in the LUMC. The V&RM researchers also have access to the LUMC iPSC core facility unique, the biomedical imaging technologies facilities of the Research Profile Biomedical Imaging, and of the state-of-the-art facilities within the LUMC Technology Focus Areas Leiden Genome Technology Center and Center for Proteomics and Metabolomics for (high-throughput) genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics analyses).

Dutch science agenda

The medical research profile Vascular and Regenerative Medicine participates in the Nationale Wetenschapsagenda (in dutch).