Encapsulated Islet Transplantation: Strategies and Clinical Trials
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.4110/in.2013.13.6.235
Encapsulation of tissue has been an area of intense research with a myriad number of therapeutic applications as diverse as cancer, tissue regeneration, and diabetes. In the case of diabetes, transplantation of pancreatic islets of Langerhans containing insulin-producing beta cells has shown promise toward a cure. However, anti-rejection therapy that is needed to sustain the transplanted tissue has numerous adverse effects, and the islets might still be damaged by immune processes. Furthermore, the profound scarcity of healthy human donor organs restricts the availability of islets for transplant. Islet encapsulation allows the protection of this tissue without the use of toxic medications, while also expanding the donor pool to include animal sources. Before the widespread application of this therapy, there are still issues that need to be resolved. There are many materials that can be used, differing shapes and sizes of capsules, and varied sources of islets to name a few variables that need to be considered. In this review, the current options for capsule generation, past animal and human studies, and future directions in this area of research are discussed.