Frankfurt Orofacial Regenerative Medicine


FORM (Frankfurt Orofacial Regenerative Medicine)

FORM-Lab is located at the Medical Center of the Goethe University Frankfurt (Germany). FORM is the research lab of the Department for Oral, Cranio-Maxillofacial and Facial Plastic Surgery. The lab was founded in 2007 by Dr. Shahram Ghanaati under the support of Prof. Robert Sader and Prof. James Kirkpatrick based on a scientific collaboration between the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt and the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz.

In total, FORM-Lab occupies a space of over 300 square meters in an ultramodern research facility, equipped according to S1 and S2 guidelines.

The lab offers general and specific equipment for in vitro and in vivo research; including specific techniques for biomaterial and tissue engineering. The in vitro unit includes tissue culture workplaces with CO2 incubators, sterilizers and sterile hoods. There are also additional workplaces for protein quantification and analyses using ELISA, Western Blot technique, PCR, real time PCR and enzyme activity assays.

The histology (in vivo) unit, which is a major section of our lab, is fully equipped for general and special histological techniques organized according to a standardized workflow. This starts with histological tissue preparation using fully automated tissue processor, followed by tissue embedding in an embedding station and slice preparations by means of rotary microtome. The histology unit also has different staining stations for several histochemical stains whereas specific immunohistochemical staining techniques are performed using a fully automated workflow via Autostainer.

Image analysis is one of the main analytic fields used in our lab. The imaging unit includes several workplaces supported by special software for image analysis and histomorphometry, that are equipped with several light microscopes, fluorescence microscope and a molecular imager. In addition, a high-resolution scanning microscope with “total scan technology”connected to a PC with analysis software is used for digitizing histological slides and generating total scans for histomorphometry and image analysis. The lab is also authorized to utilize highly developed microscopes at Buchmann Institute for Molecular Life Sciences – core facilities (i.e. Leica TCS SP5, Leica AF 6000 with JPK Nano-wizard 2, Keyence BIOREVO X, Zeiss Cell Observer, etc.).


Development of FORM-Lab

The foundation of the lab is based on the transfer of the know-how from the Repair-Lab in vivo group which was established by Dr. Ghanaati as an in vivo division of the Repair-Lab, established by Prof. Kirkpatrick at the Institute of Pathology, Johannes Gutenberg university of Mainz.

In a first step, in vivo surgical models and histological evaluation techniques were re-established in Frankfurt. In a later step, in vitro techniques were established with special focus on biomaterial research and tissue engineering.

The main research field in FORM-lab is understanding the cellular reaction towards biomaterials and its influence on in vivo vascularization using soft tissue (subcutaneous model) and hard tissue (femur and  calvarian) models. Moreover, in vitro evaluation focuses on the 2-D and 3-D cell culture systems in combination with biomaterials as extracellular matrix (ECM).

Furthermore, biomaterials and cancer cell lines are used to form tissue-like constructs (TLC) for the evaluation of chemotherapeutic substances in the oncological research field.As a part of the university hospital, FORM is characterized by intensified interdisciplinary cooperation between clinicians and scientists.

Everyday clinical experiences in the oro-maxillofacial surgical field, including tumor resections, trauma and tissue atrophy, underline the need for alternative approaches to enhance tissue regeneration while reducing patient morbidity. FORM aims to develop not only scientific models but also clinically applicable concepts. Thus, some biomaterials were translated to new perspectives in clinical applications. A further main research field is the development of “smart” blood concentrates as a personalized and autologous system based on platelet-rich-fibrin (PRF). In this field, FORM is the core of a national network of clinicians focusing on the histological and clinical evaluation of this system in bone and tissue regeneration.Furthermore, an international atmosphere is the spirit of the department, providing international internships as an opportunity to exchange experiences and support young scientists.

Furthermore, an international atmosphere is the spirit of the department, providing international internships as an opportunity to exchange experiences and support young scientists.