Islet-on-a-Chip device set to transform islet cell transplantation in type 1 diabetes
A new device which makes it easier to perform islet cell transplantation has been created, called ‘Islet-on-a-Chip’.
Developed by Harvard University, Islet-on-a-Chip will make it easier for experts to screen for insulin-producing cells before they are transplanted into a person.
The device was inspired by fully functioning human pancreases – which produces our body’s insulin – and could dramatically speed up the testing process by providing results in real time, speeding up clinical decision making.
Islet cell transplantation is where groups of insulin-producing cells are taken from a donor pancreas and transplanted into someone with type 1 diabetes. Earlier this year, transplantation was shown to lead to near-normal blood glucose levels without external insulin being administered up to 10 years after transplantation.
All cells before transplantation must be tested to ensure they work properly. But at the moment the current process is so cumbersome that many clinicians give up carrying it out anyway. This newly created device, however, changes that.
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