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Research/​Development/​Education

New work on development of a fat implant to assist in reconstructive surgery

Dr Marina Handel, of Hohenstein Institute, has successfully completed her doctorate work on in cell and molecular biology, where she explored a thesis on the development of a fat implant for the treatment of wounds, as an alternative to the current methods used in reconstructive surgery. As a project manager for the Department of Hygiene, Environment & Medicine at the Hohenstein Institute, Dr Handel currently focuses on interaction between allergens and textiles or skin, allergy prevention through textiles as well as neurophysiological perception of clothing by humans.

20th August 2013

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Boennigheim

Medical/Hygiene

As a project manager for the Department of Hygiene, Environment & Medicine at the Hohenstein Institute, Dr Handel currently focuses on interaction between allergens and textiles or skin, allergy prevention through textiles as well as neurophysiological perception of clothing by humans.

Treatment of the future

The objective of the successful conversion of the body's own stem cells into adipocytes (fat cells) and their colonisation on 3D implants is to allow treatment of injured soft tissue in future. Filling larger injuries, such as burns, pressure ulcers or large scars, are said to be a particular challenge in reconstructive surgery and most surgeons currently choose flap surgery for tissue reconstruction. This technique, they say, puts great strain on the surrounding healthy tissue and therefore on the entire patient.

The results of Dr Handel's doctoral thesis were published by the renowned ‘Journal of Biomedical Materials’ magazine, which dedicated two title pages to the new development, including the ‘Highlights 2012’ edition. According to the Institute, this shows that the fat implants have consequently been met with great interest among experts.

Human stem cells, colonising a textile implant. Detailed view through a scanning electron microscope (left), view through a fluorescence microscope (right). ©Hohenstein Institute

Research

The doctoral thesis of 27 year-old Marina Handel is titled ‘Development of autologic fatty tissue replacement with angiogenic properties on the basis of an adipogenic alginate matrix in combination with human mesenchymal stem cells’.

Left: Targeted new formation of blood vessels in a textile implant colonised by stem cells. The dense capillary network is clearly visible. Right: Negative check: Implant colonised with connective tissue cells, with no formation of new vessels. ©Hohenstein Institute

It was prepared in the laboratories of the Department of Hygiene, Environment & Medicine at the Hohenstein Institute, supervised by Prof Dr Dirk Höfer at the Hohenstein Institute and by Prof Dr Klaus Pfizenmaier at the Institute for Cell Biology and Immunology at the University of Stuttgart.

This makes Handel the first doctoral candidate to have produced all her work and data at the Hohenstein Institute.

www.hohenstein.com

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