Dr. B. (Bart) Spee

Associate Professor
Inwendige Ziekten
+31 30 212 1800

“With the stem cell treatments that we develop in our lab, we are at the forefront of research into liver diseases worldwide” 

End-stage liver failure is a major healthcare challenge. Liver diseases account for approximately 2 million deaths per year worldwide. Liver transplantation is the most effective way to re-establish liver function for various diseases, including acute liver failure or liver malignancies. Currently, less than 10% of global transplantation needs are met and the gap between patients on transplant waiting lists and available donor organs is steadily increasing. There's an urgent need for alternative treatments. That’s why people are investing in the type of stem cell treatments that we develop in our lab. We are at the forefront of research into liver diseases. 

Adult stem cells
Bart Spee has more than 18 years’ experience in Molecular Biology and Veterinary Medicine and is (co)author of over 70 peer-reviewed scientific publications. He is investigating the use of stem cells, ranging from adult stem cells (organoids) to mesenchymal stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) for functional recovery of liver diseases. One of the main focus points of the research is the transplantation of adult stem cells in a canine model for Wilsons disease. Another primary focus is the creation of physiologically relevant in vitro liver models using biofabrication technology that can be used for drug toxicity testing and personalized medicine approaches. 

1.4 million euros for printing organs
Bart Spee and Kerstin Schneeberger are working on the urgently needed alternative treatments. Their research received an extra boost with the award of a Horizon 2020 grant of 6.3 million euros, of which 1.4 million euros is for Utrecht University. In the ORGANTRANS consortium, Spee and Schneeberger are partnering with experts from across Europe to develop a liver tissue printing platform, an important step towards replacing donor organs.