Diabetes, Heart, and Cardiovascular Diseases News Chronicle.      Article 318

A Retrievable And Scalable Cell Encapsulation Device (TRAFFIC) For The Treatment Of Type 1 Diabetes

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Patients with type 1 diabetes are at risk of both hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia. Transplantation of insulin-secreting islet cells into a patient with type 1 diabetes (T1D) to produce insulin is an alternative to insulin therapy. But the administration of the long-term immunosuppressive drug is required in the islet transplantation. Another method in transplanting them is coating and encapsulating insulin-secreting islet cells into hundreds of thousands of tiny hydrogel capsules.

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TRAFFIC medical device for the secretion of insulin, prevention of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia in patients with type 1 diabetes.

But there is a risk of a tumor (a tumour) with the failed (dead) transplanted islet cells in the body and they should be removed. Removing thousands of failed tiny capsules from the human organ is not an easy task.

Now, the researchers have developed an ingenious method for the treatment of a patient with type I diabetes. They successfully developed a potentially game-changing medical implant device named as TRAFFIC (Thread-Reinforced Alginate Fiber For Islets enCapsulation). In this new device, researchers have coated the islet cells with a thin hydrogel and attached all of them to a polymer thread called as TRAFFIC. With this device.

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  • It is easier to implant thousands of islet cells into a patient with type 1 diabetes (T1D) for the secretion of insulin in response to the glucose levels in the bloodstream.
  • It is easier to remove all the dead implanted islet cells from the body and replace them with the new insulin-secreting islet cells.

Transplantation of six feet of TRAFFIC device containing insulin-secreting islet cells into the peritoneal cavity of the patient with type 1 diabetes (T1D) requires a laparoscopic surgery.

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Researchers have conducted a study on mice models with type 1 diabetes by implanting one-inch length of the TRAFFIC device. The study shows normal glucose levels within two days. They also found normal blood glucose levels for at least three months.

They have conducted another experiment on dog models to check the removal and replacement of the TRAFFIC device. Researchers were successful in implanting and removing a 10-inch TRAFFIC device from its body. They used laparoscopic surgery (also called minimally invasive surgery) in this process. They have conducted a study with multiple devices and found minimal stickiness between the surrounding tissue and the device.

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The following are the main features of the transplanting technology used in the TRAFFIC implant medical device.

  • Minimally reactive.
  • Offers protection to the insulin-secreting islet cells with a thin coating of the hydrogel.
  • Allow the islet cells to sense the glucose levels in the bloodstream.
  • Do not attach to anything in implanting or removing the device.
  • Can be removed or replaced by new islet cells if the life of the islet cells is over.

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The device has got the patent protection and the study has got the support from the following organizations.

  • The American Diabetes Association, Arlington, Virginia.
  • The Cornell Stem Cell Program Seed Fund, The Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
  • The Cornell Technology Acceleration and Maturation (CTAM) Fund, Ithaca, New York.
  • The National Science Foundation (NSF), Alexandria, Virginia.

Co-lead authors of the research group were Duo An and Alan Chiu, Doctoral students. The leader of the research group was Minglin Ma, an Assistant Professor, Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. The study was published December 25, 2017, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Title of the paper was "Designing a Retrievable and Scalable Cell Encapsulation Device for Potential Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes."
DOI: doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1708806115

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Published on April 2, 2018


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