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

ogy, and decades of transplantation expertise.

Prior to their destruction by the immune system in type 1 diabetes, healthy islets thrive inside the pancreas, where they have sufficient oxygen, adequate space, and all the nutrients needed to perform the demanding job of normalizing blood sugar levels. The BioHub attempts to closely replicate the cells' natural environment and allows scientists to fine tune these cellular needs within the transplant site as never before.

"The progress in islet transplantation has been incremental and has allowed us to get to this important juncture. The BioHub gives us a tool to combine all we've learned through the years of clinical testing and take the next leap forward.  I am confident that this approach could move cellular therapies and biological replacement strategies for the cure of diabetes to our final goal," says Camillo Ricordi , M.D., Stacy Joy Goodman professor of surgery and director of the Diabetes Research Institute.

Among the platforms being tested for a BioHub is a porous, sponge-like material approximately the size of a quarter that is compatible with the human body. Islet cells are gently seeded on this protective platform, allowing cells to nestle within the individual pores. Researchers are also testing the use of more natural containers, such as a patient's own vein, that can be tied off to create a "venous sac" complete with its own pre-existing vascular supply. In addition to housing transplanted insulin-producing cells, a BioHub will also allow scientists to improve upon Mother Nature perhaps by enhancing the immediate transplant environment with additional oxygen, specific types of "helper" cells or other agents to promote the cells' long-term survival and function. Additionally, a BioHub platform can be used to house not just islets, but any future insulin-producing cell type that scientists create.

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SOURCE Diabetes Research Institute Foundation
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