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Cell transplantation and diabetes: New sites, new devices
Date:1/21/2009

n der Windt and co-authors.

They also speculate on the value of porcine islet cells for transplantation, suggesting that these cells offer greater opportunities for selecting a donor at an age when the islets have favorable properties, when islet-like cell clusters isolated from fetal or neonatal piglets retain the ability to mature and proliferate. In addition, these cells are believed to be less immunogenic than adult islet cells and more resistant to hypoxia.

Van der Windt and colleagues suggest that porcine islet cells can provide an unlimited source of islets and in quantities that may satisfy the metabolic requirements of diabetic patients. Too, they are able to produce insulin that both functions in humans and offers opportunities for genetic modification that may help overcome some of the unfavorable site-specific conditions.

"These types of islets may have a better survival potential at different recipient sites," added Van der Windt.

Contact: Dr. Dirk Van der Windt, Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, vanderwindtd@upmc.edu,

Engineering a bioartificial pancreas

Another review by Dr. Cherie Stabler and colleagues from the Diabetes Research Institute and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Miami (Florida), evaluated the engineering of bio-hybrid devices and encapsulation technologies that may aid in the success of islet transplants. According to the researchers, the transplantation of islet cells into the portal vein of the liver has presented several challenges. Overcoming those challenges means recognizing important issues such as vascularization, mechanical protection, device design, biomaterial selection and quality control in device engineering.

"A recent focus has been to redesign bio-hybrid devices that promote vascularization and effective nutrient delivery to prevent
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Contact: Dirk Van der Windt
vanderwindtd@upmc.edu
Cell Transplantation Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair
Source:Eurekalert

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