Biohybrid Medical Systems
Between the two extremes, purely technical and purely biological, stands the "biohybrid" medical system. Biohybrid medical systems consist of both biological and technical components. They combine the advantages of both approaches by combining a cellular component for the biological function with a technical component that can be easily calculated and reproducibly designed as a matrix for basic biomechanical stability. Technical components range from artificial scaffolding structures made of durable or bioresorbable biomaterials, through mechatronic devices and systems on a macro- to microscopic scale, to nanoscale carrier materials that can be imaged and pharmaceutically doped. While the technical structure ensures manufacturability and predictable mechanical properties, the biological component is responsible for optimal biological performance (e.g. biocompatibility, hemocompatibility, tissue integration into the implant environment, etc.). In this way, medical systems can be created that are superior to those available today in terms of biofunctionality and durability.
Through the newly created I3TM - "Integrated Interdisciplinary Institute of Technology in Medicine" the research area "Biohybrid Cardiovascular Implants and Lung Support" could be established. Based on this, 8 projects with the participation of the RWTH Aachen University within the DFG priority program SPP 2014 "Towards Implantable Lung", the Research Training Group 2415 "Mechanobiology in epithelial 3D tissue constructs" and a DFG coordinated action PAK 961 "Model-based Control of Biohybrid Implant Maturation" with 13 doctoral positions were acquired and a research building according to Art. 91 B GG "Center for biohybrid medical systems" was successfully realized. Research and design of biomaterial vs. cell and tissue interaction of biohybrid constructs, their controlled and quality assured production and clinical testing serve the goal of creating a new generation of clinically applicable biofunctional implants and carrier systems as well as the creation of novel in vitro tissue models for biochemical and pharmacological tests. Besides the collaboration between the faculties of medicine, engineering and natural sciences, there is a close cooperation with the Leibniz Institute DWI and the Fraunhofer Institutes for Production Engineering and Laser Technology. This cooperation allows knowledge and experience to be exchanged. The main research areas are tissue engineering, cellular engineering, mechanobiology and mechanotransduction, biomaterials research, 3D bioprinting, investigation of cell-material interactions, biofunctionalization of implant surfaces, automation of cell cultivation and tissue maturation, production and control technology for bioreactors, quality assurance and GMP-compliant production, implementation of implant and carrier systems in clinical application taking into account regulatory aspects and preparation of clinical studies.