Treating Type I diabetes with islet cell transplants from donors has not been successful as the patient’s immune system recognizes the islet cells as foreign and clears the cells from the patient’s body. A recent publication in Nature Medicine has shown that encapsulation of human islet cells with aliginate, a hydrogel approved for clinical use, protected the human islet cells from the mouse immune system and corrected the diabetes.
Thanks to CMMRF support the ICVBM was able to purchase the Buchi encapsulation device that can make a clinical grade capsule. We plan to begin encapsulating human islet cells and test their ability to control blood sugar levels in our polygenic diabetic mouse model ,the TALLY-HO mouse strain. This genetic diabetic mouse more closely duplicates the human diabetic condition then that used in the Nature Medicine paper. Furthermore if we are able to demonstrate success we will be able to move this to a clinical trial in patients as the materials we are using are FDA approved.