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Nano Technology Approaches for Cell Based Type 1 Diabetes Therapeutics


Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is a disease where pancreatic islet beta-cells are unable to regulate blood glucose levels, resulting in severe health issues including death.1 1.25 million people in the United States alone have T1D and this accounts for $14.9 billion in healthcare cost annually (CDC, 2009). The prevalence of T1D in people under age 20 rose by 23 % between 2001 and 2009 and is projected to increase 4-6% annually (CDC & NIH), providing a strategic opportunity for therapeutic development. The gold standard of treatment requires manual correction of cellular insulin response by IM injection or by an implanted pump, however both treatments require burdensome maintenance. Although glucose homeostasis can be controlled, there is no therapy providing complete insulin independence. Here I describe a novel therapeutic technology that will lay the foreground for providing insulin independence.

Although islet transplantation has been explored, limited success has been achieved due to decreased islet function, survival and required associated immunosuppressant therapy. To address these challenges multiple encapsulation approaches have been explored.2–6 This unique technology combines the advantages of single-islet and multi-islet encapsulation approaches, providing rapid nutrient exchange of single-islet approaches and precise membrane control of multi-islet approaches. On top of providing rapid nutrient exchange, immune-isolation and minimal foreign body response, this device technology, unlike others, has been designed to provide flexible, compliant support for the encapsulated islets, recently discovered to promote cell function and survival. 7

This technology can replace the need for burdensome therapies by restoring absent insulin secreting cells, reestablishing glucose homeostasis, effectively curing T1D. It can greatly improve diabetic treatment by having immediate glucose response, and significantly reduce associated diabetic complications. Furthermore this approach can significantly decrease reliance on patient compliance and improve patient quality of life.

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