Interview with the lead partner Arndt Peter Schulz

What are your main activities in the project BONEBANK?
The University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Lübeck develops standardized procedures for the collection, storage and transport of bone material, which is collected during fracture-related routine operations. We are responsible for the high quality of the extracted bone material and the resulting bone marrow stem cells. In an upcoming bone operation, we inform the affected patients about the BONEBANK project and the opportunity to donate bone marrow stem cells for research. If the patient gives his consent, the bone material from the operation will be collected and taken to the biobank in Odense or Lübeck.

What are the innovative aspects that emerge from the technology you have developed?

We are not just developing a new technology. There are a number of products and methods we are working on. At the moment we are, for example, in the process of developing a completely new medical product: a disposable device for harvesting bone marrow stem cells from bone material obtained during fracture-related routine operations. We also want to recycle the recovered material, which is normally disposed as waste. Therefore, we develop biotechnologies to isolate the relevant cells from the mass of recovered material. We also explore methods for freezing and storing the material.

What are the future plans for BONEBANK?

Right, the future of BONEBANK ... For the medical product, it is necessary to use plastics that can be sterilized and that are safe for the patient. Next, we have to find manufacturers of plastic products that meet these requirements.

Stem cells help bone growth and healing, and restore bone function. Therefore, our main goal is to give the stem cells back to patients, so to speak, to improve their quality of life. For this reason, we must concentrate on the further development of safe methods for the cultivation of bone marrow stem cells and continue to work on the medical product for the transplantation of processed stem cells.