Research Foci

Dr. rer. nat. Katharina Schmidt-Bleek

Katharina Schmidt-Bleeks research group focuses on the early inflammatory phase of bone healing. This research field opens new possibilities for developing therapeutic approaches to enhance bone formation through immune modulatory strategies.

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Immune modulation to foster bone regeneration

Musculoskeletal injuries encompass damages to the locomotor system such as bone fractures, torn muscle fibers or tendons. Musculoskeletal injuries often occur in relation to accidents or strenuous activity. Studies have approximated that up to 25% of the population may experience a musculoskeletal injury within a year. Extended healing, delayed healing or non-healing situations frequently require second interventions and substantially affect quality of life and increase health care costs. In young patients, prolonged healing delays return to work; in aged patients, delayed healing impairs functional recovery and thereby frequently represents a threat to the overall health status of aged patients. As musculoskeletal injuries therefore represent a significant burden on society and economy, therapies are needed that improve the healing process of these incidents.

From the state of the art it is known that immune cells can influence healing and regeneration in musculoskeletal tissues. Inflammation is an immediate localized initiating response to tissue injury, which serves to prepare the tissue for eventual repair and healing. This inflammatory reaction should be short-lived and leading to the desired response. However, it can be prolonged or too excessive and result in tissue damage. In these cases, a immune modulatory therapeutic intervention could prove beneficial.