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Source: Charite – Universitatsmedizin Berlin New Collaborative Research Center on Regeneration Processes at the Charité Bone regeneration is understood as a blueprint for healing without scars. The new Collaborative Research Center (SFB) “Controlled cellular self-organization to improve bone regeneration”, which is supported by the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, is now investigating which factors and mechanisms are important, how they interact and how they change during aging. The findings should help to enable regeneration into old age. The joint project is initially funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) for four years with more than 12 million euros. Bone tissue is one of the few that is capable of scarless healing and thus complete restoration of structure and function. This makes bones an ideal model system for understanding general principles of endogenous healing and cellular self-organization. While these processes generally work well in young and healthy people, they change in older or previously ill people: with increasing age, lack of exercise, chronic inflammation and metabolic diseases, there is also a change in bone healing. Musculoskeletal disorders are therefore more common in the elderly. In principle, however, all of these patients receive similar care, although the healing potential can vary greatly from person to person. A deeper understanding of the changes in the body’s own healing processes due to aging, metabolic diseases or altered immune responses – so-called “immunoaging” – is largely lacking. Such an understanding is a prerequisite for an individual treatment of these patients. “The beginning of the healing is crucial for the long-term success”, explains Prof. Dr. Georg N. Duda, spokesman for the new research network, director of the Julius Wolff Institute for Biomechanics and Musculoskeletal Regeneration at the Charité and BIH-Chair for Engineering Regenerative Therapies. “If the healing gets derailed at the beginning, this will always lead to it being delayed or not occurring at all. A well-controlled immune response, sufficient supply and a well-structured basic tissue substance are essential for successful healing. ”So far, these three aspects – inflammation, metabolism and mechanics – have only been considered individually. The new CRC 1444 “Controlled Cellular Self-Organization for Improving Bone Regeneration – Directed Cellular Self-Organization for Advancing Bone Regeneration” is intended to contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms involved and their coordinated interaction. The basic mechanisms that lead to the success or failure of the body’s own regeneration processes are examined more closely here – using the example of bone regeneration. The aim is to decipher how the interactions are controlled and regulated and how they can adapt during normal aging processes so that regeneration remains possible into old age. The joint project brings together leading scientists from basic research and the clinic of the Charité, the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH), the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC), the Free University of Berlin, the Zuse Institute Berlin (ZIB) and the Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces Research (MPIKG) and the German Institute for Nutrition Research (DIfE) in Potsdam. A total of 28 scientists are cooperating in 16 projects. The network will start on January 1, 2021. The deputy spokesperson is Prof. Dr. Hans-Dieter Volk, Director of the Institute for Medical Immunology and Spokesman for the Regenerative Focus at BIH and Charité (BCRT): “Our long-term goal is to influence the interactions between inflammation, metabolism and mechanics in such a way that the body’s own regeneration even in difficult healing situations is made possible, “says private lecturer Dr. Katharina Schmidt-Bleek, scientific coordinator of the SFB. In this way, the prerequisites for an improved risk assessment and for personalized therapeutic approaches for patients should be created.

Left: Julius Wolff Institute for Biomechanics and Musculoskeletal Regeneration

ContactProf. Dr. Georg N. DudaDirector of the Julius Wolff Institute for Biomechanics and Musculoskeletal RegenerationCharité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin t: +49 30 450 559 079

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