Researchers have long explored ways to transplant pancreatic islets to treat type I diabetes in the long term to eliminate the need for continuous glucose monitoring and insulin injections. However, there are several challenges to this approach. Now, a study from researchers at the University of Illinois demonstrates insulin-secreting cells, called islets, show increased viability and function after spending twenty-one days inside tiny capsules containing even tinier capsules bearing a drug making the cells more resilient to oxygen deprivation. The team states their drug-carrying microsphere within a cell-bearing microcapsule could be the key to transplanting insulin-secreting pig pancreas cells into human patients whose own cells have been destroyed by type I diabetes. The study is published in the journal Drug Delivery and Translational Research.
Previous studies have shown there are many hurdles to pancreatic islet transplantation, with functional, viable islets needed to secrete insulin when exposed to glucose. This is married to the fact once the islets are isolated from tissue, the next big challenge is to keep them alive and functioning after transplantation. The current study develops islets co-encapsulated with the exenatide-loaded microspheres exhibiting improved survival and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, compared to those without.
The current study develops tiny microspheres loaded with a drug to improve cell viability and function in hypoxic conditions. The microspheres are designed to provide an extended-release of the drug over twenty-one days. The group packaged pig islets and the microspheres together within microcapsules and compared them with encapsulated islets minus the drug-containing microspheres over three weeks.
Results show after twenty-one days, around seventy-one percent of the islets packaged with the drug-releasing microspheres remained viable, while only about forty-five percent of the islets encapsulated on their own survived. Data findings show the cells with the microspheres also maintained their ability to produce insulin in response to glucose at a significantly higher level than those without the microspheres.
The team states their study demonstrates the viability in vitro of their microsphere-within-a-microcapsule strategy to enable islet transplantation. For the future, the researchers hope to test their microsphere-within-a-microcapsule technique in small animals before looking toward larger animal or human trials.
Source: University of Illinois
Get Healthinnovations delivered to your inbox:
Michelle Petersen is the founder of Healthinnovations, having worked in the health and science industry for over 21 years, which includes tenure within the NHS and Oxford University. Healthinnovations is a publication that has reported on, influenced, and researched current and future innovations in health for the past decade.
Michelle has been picked up as an expert writer for Informa publisher’s Clinical Trials community, as well as being listed as a blog source by the world’s leading medical journals, including the acclaimed Nature-Springer journal series.
Healthinnovations is currently indexed by the trusted Altmetric and PlumX metrics systems, respectively, as a blog source for published research globally. Healthinnovations is also featured in the world-renowned BioPortfolio, BioPortfolio.com, the life science, pharmaceutical and healthcare portal.
Most recently the Texas A&M University covered The Top 10 Healthinnovations series on their site with distinguished Professor Stephen Maren calling the inclusion of himself and his team on the list a reflection of “the hard work and dedication of my students and trainees”.
Michelle Petersen’s copy was used in the highly successful marketing campaign for the mega-hit film ‘Jumanji: The Next Level, starring Jack Black, Karen Gilian, Kevin Hart and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Michelle Petersen’s copywriting was part of the film’s coverage by the Republic TV network. Republic TV is the most-watched English language TV channel in India since its inception in 2017.
An avid campaigner in the fight against child sex abuse and trafficking, Michelle is a passionate humanist striving for a better quality of life for all humans by helping to provide traction for new technologies and techniques within healthcare.