Type 1 diabetes: New pancreatic cell transplant system shows promise

Scientists have developed a way to increase the effectiveness of pancreatic islet transplantation, a promising therapy for type 1 diabetes.

New findings could make pancreatic islet cell transplants more effective.

Immune rejection by the recipient is a major barrier to pancreatic islet transplants from donors becoming routinely available for the treatment of type 1 diabetes.

One way to overcome this is to place the islets — groups of insulin-producing cells — inside microcapsules made of a material that is less likely to provoke an immune response.

However, the process of microencapsulation can result in large numbers of empty capsules, which means a high volume of implant to achieve the required result. This increases the risk of immune reaction.

Now, researchers from the University of the Basque Country, in Spain, have developed a magnetic system for purifying the microcapsules that separates out the empty ones.

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