Forschungsverbund BioMedizin
Bielefeld/OWL FBMB e.V.
Research for
the best medicine

Our current research projects

We organize research in direct interaction with clinical colleagues. We follow a reductionist approach of disease models with human cells in a test tube. Thus, cells are cultivated from clinical material in the laboratory for treatment in the test tube and for the development of new therapies. We think that these patient-specific models from humans can fully replace animal experiments for the questions investigated here. We want to contribute to the development of better patient-specific therapies and diagnostics. To this end, we are working closely with colleagues from the Faculty of Medicine and clinicians from the University Hospital OWL.

The University Hospital OWL (UK OWL) of Bielefeld University is the university hospital of the Faculty of Medicine in North Rhine-Westphalia in the region of East Westphalia-Lippe (OWL). It is formed from clinics of the hospitals Evangelisches Klinikum Bethel and Krankenhaus Mara (together as Campus Bielefeld-Bethel Universitätsklinikum OWL), Klinikum Bielefeld and Klinikum Lippe. In the University Hospital OWL with 1800 beds, 170,000 patients are treated annually by more than 5,000 employees. The Heart and Diabetes Center North Rhine-Westphalia (HDZ) in Bad Oeynhausen will strengthen the Medical Faculty OWL in research, teaching and patient care.

We are working on two main topics: Regenerative Medicine and Cancer Research.


Regenerative Medicine - Projekt 1

Many endogenous factors that can influence tissue regeneration are detectable in blood plasma and are transported via it to those tissues where repair mechanisms take place. We are investigating whether blood plasmas from certain donor collectives may have particularly high regenerative properties. In this context, we are primarily investigating the regeneration of the adult human heart. As a model system, we have already successfully established the cultivation of so-called cardiac stem cells, which were obtained from heart tissue. Using these stem cells, we can investigate in the laboratory which signaling pathways within the cells are influenced by the addition of blood plasma samples. For this purpose, we use state-of-the-art methods such as sequencing and analysis of all expressed genes (mRNA sequencing).


This project is being carried out in close cooperation between the Institute for Laboratory and Transfusion Medicine of the Heart and Diabetes Center NRW (Bad Oeynhausen) and the Chair of Cell Biology at Bielefeld University.

Partner: Dr. Höving, K. E. Schmidt, Prof. Dr. B. Kaltschmidt, Prof. Dr. C. Kaltschmidt, Prof. Dr. C. Knabbe


Regenerative Medicine - Projekt 2

Another project "Climate Protection in Hospitals" includes our humanitarian Africa project, where we implant (donated and re-sterilized) pacemakers in sick patients with AV block. This could be interesting for all who are open to new ways in medicine and society and are grateful for suggestions on what could be done to make the world at least a little bit better.

Here is a field report from Africa: Kenyan Mercy Muhoro received a used pacemaker seven years ago. Now German cardiologist Carsten Israel is implanting a larger device in her - used, but fully functional.

Berlin's Charité, Europe's largest university hospital, has set itself an ambitious goal and wants to become climate-neutral. To this end, it has set up a task force to identify ecological problems in hospital operations and work on solutions - for example, in the case of anesthetic gases, which increase CO2 emissions immensely. Work toward sustainability is also underway at OWL University Hospital. Cardiologist Dr. Carsten Israel is head physician at the Protestant Hospital Bethel in Bielefeld. Every day, he inserts pacemakers into patients. Most of the devices outlive their wearers. They are removed from the dead and disposed of at great expense. Dr. Israel collects used devices, sterilizes them and implants them in patients in Africa. In Germany this is forbidden. In East Africa, the devices are urgently needed and, within the framework of this project, they are returned to the patients who urgently need them.

Partner: Prof. Dr. C. Israel

You can see a preview in arte's media center:


Regenerative Medicine - Projekt 3

Bone fractures occur in all age groups and can usually be treated well, since bones are among the few tissues that can heal without the formation of a scar through the formation of new bone. However, despite modern treatment methods, in 5-10% of all fractures there is a failure of fracture healing, which has serious consequences for those affected. These include a prolonged period of pain, multiple surgeries, and limitations in mobility and participation. For society, these few cases represent a relevant additional burden for the healthcare system. A major challenge for trauma surgeons and orthopedic surgeons continues to be a bone defect whose size exceeds the self-healing capacity. Causes of these defects can include accidents, infections and tumors.

On the one hand, our research seeks to optimize the regenerative capacity of bone by optimizing the micro- and nanostructure of filler and bone substitute materials. On the other hand, we are working on a concept for patient-individualized therapy using autologous stem cells. This project is being worked on in close cooperation between the Chair of Cell Biology at Bielefeld University and the University Hospital for Trauma Surgery and Orthopedics, Bethel.

Partner: Prof. Dr. T. Vordemvenne, PD. Dr. D. Wähnert, T. Niemann, Prof. Dr. A. Hütten, Prof. Dr. C. Kaltschmidt, Prof. Dr. B. Kaltschmidt


Cancer Research - Cancer Stem Cells Research

In this research project, we develop cancer models in the test tube (or Petri dish) individually for each cancer patient. Our concept focuses on metastases (daughter tumors). Metastases arise from so-called tumor stem cells, which are a special type of cell in the body that can migrate from the primary tumor and form metastases in other organs. We have developed methods to grow tumor stem cells from a variety of solid tumors. We are also investigating how growth signals are processed in the cancer cell. Cancer cells respond to growth signals by unregulated cell division, from which the tumor arises. We aim to inhibit this unregulated growth in a patient-specific manner using specific chemotherapeutic agents. Furthermore, we have established the culture of natural killer cells (NK cells), which very efficiently kill tumor cells "in vitro".


Our clinical partners have established the latest diagnosis and treatment options for lung cancer patients as part of their membership in the National Genomic Medicine Network (membership number: 0463). (see press releases on 08/03/2022 WB, and on 08/18/2022 NW).


Partner: PD Dr. med. Morris Beshay, Prof. Dr. med. Constanze Banz-Jansen, Prof. Dr. Jan Schulte Am Esch, Prof. Dr. med. Matthias Simon, Prof. Dr. Barbara Kaltschmidt, Prof. Dr. Christian Kaltschmidt, Prof. Dr. med. Jesco Pfitzenmaier, Prof. Dr. med. Florian Weissinger, Prof. Dr. Ludwig Wilkens, Dr. Christiane Förster


Cancer Research on tumors of the lung (EvKB)

The Clinic for Thoracic Surgery established the first Lung Center in OWL in January 2006. The main focus of our clinic is, among other things, the diagnosis and surgical therapy of lung tumors and metastases, middle pleural tumors as well as the trachea and airways. For therapy, our clinic has the most modern surgical techniques as well as the latest surgical equipment. As far as possible, we perform interventions minimally invasive ("keyhole surgery"). The advantages for the patient are a shorter inpatient stay in the hospital, a faster recovery and a better cosmetic result.


We conduct research in direct interaction between clinicians and scientists. To this end, cells are cultivated from clinical material in the laboratory, for example, for treatment in the test tube and for the development of new therapies. We think that these patient-specific models from humans can largely replace animal experiments for the questions investigated here.

In this way, we want to contribute to establishing better patient-specific therapy and diagnostics. The Clinic for Thoracic Surgery is committed to and actively participates in current research projects on stem cells of lung cancer (see section Stem Cell Research).

Partner: Prof. Dr. B. Kaltschmidt, Prof. Dr. C. Kaltschmidt, Prof. Dr. F. Mertzlufft, Dr. med. M. Beshay, Prof. Dr. F. Weißinger, Prof. Dr. L. Wilkins, Dr. med. C. Förster


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We welcome all forms of support, such as publicity for collaborative research, memberships, and we are especially grateful for donations, the full amount of which will be used for the association.