One million euros for innovative organoid research at the Dr. von Hauner Children's Hospital

The Eva Mayr-Stihl Foundation, based in Waiblingen, Baden-Württemberg, has donated 1,000,000 euros to the Care-for-Rare Foundation in Munich for a promising research project at the Dr von Hauner Children's Hospital at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich: A research team wants to use organoid technology to better identify diseases of the blood and immune system and develop individualised therapies.

On 29 April 2024, representatives of the Eva Mayr-Stihl Foundation, including CEO Michael von Winning, came to the Dr. von Hauner Children's Hospital and were given an insight into the research laboratories. They discussed the opportunities and challenges of this innovative organoid project and the future of personalised medicine with Prof. Christoph Klein, Chairman of the Care-for-Rare Foundation and Medical Director of the Clinic and Polyclinic for Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at the Dr. von Hauner Children's Hospital, as well as the scientists and staff involved in the project. "Rare diseases are often not attractive enough for commercial research due to the comparatively small number of people affected. That's why the commitment of foundations is particularly important here," says Michael von Winning and is pleased "to be able to support strong partners in cutting-edge research with the Care-for-Rare Foundation and the Dr von Hauner Children's Hospital."

An organoid is a three-dimensional miniature replica of an organ that resembles the original organ in many respects. Organoids are cultivated from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells). These are cells, for example from the skin, from which any organ or tissue can develop. In this way, a variety of disease models can be generated and analysed in the laboratory.

Researchers at the Dr. von Hauner Children's Hospital have succeeded for the first time in the world in cultivating an organoid of the human bone marrow (Frenz-Wiessner et al., 2024), the centre of haematopoiesis and part of the immune system. "Using these bone marrow organoids from iPS cells, we can now study complex interactions between different cell types of the bone marrow in the laboratory," explains Christoph Klein, "and thus try to better understand the development of diseases such as bone marrow failure or leukaemia."

It is possible to grow individual organoids for each patient. The researchers therefore hope to be able to recommend tailored, personalised therapies in the future. The unlimited availability of cells that can be obtained painlessly, for example from urine, also speaks in favour of this technology. 

This project is already the third major research project at the Dr von Hauner Children's Hospital for which the Eva Mayr-Stihl Foundation is providing funding. "First and foremost, the funding from the Eva Mayr-Stihl Foundation supports science and research at a German university hospital. The results of our scientific investigations are made accessible to the specialist public. We also see it as our responsibility to inform the lay public about the progress of science, particularly in the press and on the radio," says Klein.


About the Care-for-Rare Foundation:
The Care-for-Rare Foundation is Germany's first non-profit foundation dedicated to children with rare diseases. In line with its motto "From Discovery to Cure", it is dedicated to researching and treating rare diseases in children. In its five funding lines Alliance, Academy, Award, Awareness and Aid, Care-for-Rare supports a global network to give children access to science and the best medicine, regardless of their background. The Care-for-Rare Foundation builds bridges between people, cultures and science - to help children with rare diseases. For more information, please visit or email:


Press release photographs
Michael von Winning, Chairman of the Eva Mayr-Stihl Foundation, is shown the cultivated cells in a Petri dish by Dr Stephanie Frenz-Wießner.
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Michael von Winning, Chairman of the Eva Mayr-Stihl Foundation, is shown the cultivated cells in a Petri dish by Dr Stephanie Frenz-Wießner.
(c) Katharina Bauer, Care-for-Rare Foundation