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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

(BOSTON and ZURICH) — 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, M.D., 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.

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