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Diabetes Research Institute Tests BioHub Mini Organ to Restore Natural Insulin Production in Type 1 Diabetes
Date:3/5/2013

MIAMI, Fla., March 5, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Scientists from the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) at the University of Miami are taking a quantum leap toward a biological cure for diabetes by unveiling the DRI BioHub, a bioengineered "mini organ" that contains lifesaving insulin-producing cells that can sense blood sugar and release the precise amount of insulin needed in real time. The BioHub platform mimics the native pancreas and brings the promise of restoring natural insulin production and normalizing blood sugar levels in millions living with diabetes one step closer to reality.

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The DRI's research focus has been on developing a biological cure for diabetes by replacing the insulin-producing islets cells that have been mistakenly destroyed by the immune system in those with type 1 diabetes. Clinical trials have already shown that people with long-standing diabetes can achieve insulin independence after receiving infusions of islet cells from a donor organ. Some study patients continue to be insulin free for more than a decade post transplant.

However, islet transplantation has been limited to only the most severe cases of diabetes; several challenges still remain before the strategy can be offered to all who can benefit. The existing hurdles to be overcome include the need for  anti-rejection drugs that patients must take for life, the eventual need for  a plentiful supply of insulin-producing cells for transplant, and the identification of  an optimal site within the body to house the new cells. The BioHub is a platform that addresses these challenges by drawing on recent developments in bioengineering, immunol
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SOURCE Diabetes Research Institute Foundation
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