Our History

NecstGen is built upon a rich history of developments and innovations in regenerative medicine. Today Leiden’s ecosystem of academic and industrial partners continues to pioneer in research and the development of new regenerative therapies.


First Kidney Transplantation

Prof Dr J.H. Zaaijer performs a kidney transplantation on his dog Piet. He moved the left kidney to the left groin and removed the right kidney. After this, the dog lived for another 6 years. In doing so, Zaaijer set an absolute record for the time.


First successful haemodialysis

Dr. Kolff, born in Leiden, is the first to successfully treat a patient with haemodialysis.


First successful kidney transplantation

Leiden has another first: the first successful kidney transplantation. A mother donated a kidney to her son. In that same year, the first liver transplant also took place in Leiden, unfortunately without success. Kidneys and livers were already being transplanted in other western countries at the time. Rejection of the donor organs was a major problem. Jon van Rood discovers that kidney transplants have a higher success rate if the tissue types of the donor and recipient match.


Jon van Rood sets up Eurotransplant

Dr. Jon van Rood sets up Eurotransplant, a collaboration between European transplant centres. Because the larger the network, the greater the likelihood of a match between donor and recipient. Belgium is the first to participate. After this, another seven European countries join. At first, only kidneys are exchanged, later other organs are added to the list. Since its founding, over 187,000 patients have received an organ via Eurotransplant.


First successful stem cell transplant

Another first: doctors from Leiden perform the first successful bone marrow transplant on a child in Europe. A boy suffering from a congenital defect of the immune system is given bone marrow from his sister. Van Rood determines that brother and sister have exactly the same tissue type. The transplant is a great success. From that moment on, Van Rood is also involved in bone marrow transplants.


First pancreas transplantation in the Netherlands

At Academisch Ziekenhuis Leiden (now LUMC) doctors perform the first successful pancreas transplantation in the Netherlands.


First genetically modified bull

Herman the Bull sees the light of day. He is the first genetically modified bull in the world.


First transplantation of islets of Langerhans

Doctors at the LUMC were the first to transplant the islets of Langerhans, the region of the pancreas that regulates the blood sugar level. Another first in the Netherlands. This transplant helps diabetes patients who cannot regulate their blood sugar level by injecting insulin.


Stem cell injection proves beneficial after kidney transplant

Patients who receive donor kidneys seem to benefit from cells from their own bone marrow, according to researchers of the Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum in the scientific journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine.


Stem cells offer more insight into rare sudden cardiac death

By growing stem cells of patients into heart cells, researchers have discovered how a rare syndrome can lead to sudden cardiac death. The next step is to test medication on these cells. This according to researchers, including Prof Christine Mummery and Dr Milena Bellin (Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum), in PNAS.


Easier creation of heart cells from the patient’s own skin cells

In the lab, Prof Christine Mummery forms heart patients’ skin cells into stem cells. These are then matured into various types of heart muscle cells in a step-by-step process. However, until recently, the yield of cells was small and limited to ventricular cells and atrium cells. In Nature Biotechnology, the researchers describe how cell production can be scaled up significantly.


New collaboration in regenerative medicine started in LUMC

The kick-off of RegMed XB, a new collaboration for regenerative medicine, takes place on Thursday 30 March at LUMC. RegMed XB has great ambitions: a cure for patients with chronic disease, instead of the treatment of symptoms. Universities, medical funds, businesses, and the government will be working together, with a starting budget of 25 million euros and a plan to increase this to 250 million euros in the next 10 years.


Gene therapy for babies without immune systems

Babies whose immune systems do not function from birth are usually given stem cell transplants. An international research team led by the Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum is given 6 million euros from the European Horizon2020 programme for their research into a promising alternative: correction of the error in the DNA.


Gene therapy promotes nerve regeneration

Researchers at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience (NIN) and the LUMC have shown that treatment using gene therapy leads to a faster recovery after nerve damage. By combining a surgical repair procedure with gene therapy, the survival of nerve cells and regeneration of nerve fibers over a long distance was stimulated for the first time.


Establishment of NecstGen

Launch of the Netherlands Center for the Clinical Advancement of Stem Cell and Gene Therapies (NecstGen) at the Leiden Bio Science Park.


Ongoing developments in Regenerative Medicine


Cell Therapy Manufacturing & Development

Viral Vector Manufacturing & Development

Cleanroom Rental