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Current Status of Islet Encapsulation

Author: Lourdes Robles, Rick Storrs, Morgan Lamb, Michael Alexander, Jonathan RT Lakey

Source: Cell Transplantation

Publisher: Cognizant Communication Corporation

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Cell encapsulation is a method of encasing cells in a semipermeable matrix that provides a permeable gradient for the passage of oxygen and nutrients, but effectively blocks immune regulating cells from reaching the graft, preventing rejection. This concept has been described as early as the 1930's but it has exhibited substantial achievements over the last decade. Several advances in encapsulation engineering, chemical purification, applications, and cell viability promises to make this a revolutionary technology. Several obstacles still need to be overcome before this process become a reality, including developing a reliable source of islets or insulin-producing cells, determining the ideal biomaterial to promote graft function, reducing the host response to the encapsulation device, and ultimately a streamlined, scaled up process for industry to be able to efficiently and safely produce encapsulated cells for clinical use. This paper provides a comprehensive review of cell encapsulation of islets for the treatment of type 1 diabetes including a historical perspective, current research findings, and future studies.


Appeared or available online: July 22, 2013


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