Henrik Semb to lead new Institute of Translational Stem Cell Research at Helmholtz Zentrum München

Semb aims to develop safe approaches for up-scaled production of insulinproducing beta cells from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs). He and his team have recently made major breakthroughs towards this goal.

The scientists were able to establish a technology which allows the precursors of beta cells to be selectively isolated from a heterogeneous pool of differentiated hPSCs. As a next step, Semb and his team found new ways to specifically promote the proliferation of these beta cell precursors. Furthermore, Semb’s lab recently developed strategies for directing differentiation of beta cell precursors into mature beta cells.

„We believe that we are well on track with our efforts to develop a cell replacement therapy and that our latest breakthroughs will pave the way for manufacturing of insulin-producing beta cells for initial clinical trials,“ Henrik Semb said.

Semb’s long-term objective is to develop a safe and scalable stem cell therapy for people with type 1 diabetes. An important milestone in the short term is the proper production of the cells following defined standards of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP).*

The realization of this aim is a key element of the new strategic alliance between HMGU and Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Biology (DanStem) at the University of Copenhagen. Semb’s call as Director of the Institute of Translational Stem Cell Research happens within the scope of this cooperation. In addition to his activities at Helmholtz Zentrum München, Henrik Semb stays as Executive Director of the Danish Stem Cell Centre (DanStem), and Professor of Human Stem Cell Biology at the University of Copenhagen.

Further Information

The Helmholtz Zentrum München, the German Research Center for Environmental Health, pursues the goal of developing personalized medical approaches for the prevention and therapy of major common diseases such as diabetes, allergies and lung diseases. To achieve this, it investigates the interaction of genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle. The Helmholtz Zentrum München is headquartered in Neuherberg in the north of Munich and has about 2,300 staff members. It is a member of the Helmholtz Association, a community of 18 scientific-technical and medical-biological research centers with a total of about 37,000 staff members.

Contact for the media:
Department of Communication, Helmholtz Zentrum München – German Research Center for Environmental Health, Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, 85764 Neuherberg – Tel. +49 89 3187 2238 – E-mail:

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