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Microencapsulation of islets for the treatment of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D)

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Microencapsulation technology, based on use of alginic acid biopolymers, has been devised many years ago. However, when intended for enveloping human islets for transplantation purposes, the method needs to be up-scaled and implemented with care being taken to comply with simple but important measures. It is almost indispensable to rely on an ultrapurified alginic polymers: in fact, any, even minimal, alginate contamination with endotoxins, pyrogens, and proteins could provoke the host’s inflammatory reaction upon graft, with heavy adverse consequences on the capsules immunoprotective properties, hence on graft survival per se. Care should be taken in ensuring fabrication of reproducible microspheres, in terms not only of shape and size, but also consistency of the peripheral layers around the central alginate gel core, where the islets are immobilized. Once the product is well defined and stable, care should also be taken in accurately selecting patients with T1D that are candidate for encapsulated islet cell transplantation with no general immunosuppression. A series of pre- and post-intraperitoneal transplant metabolic, chemical, and immunological parameters are to be monitored, in conjunction with image analysis of the abdomen, in order to assess efficacy of the intervention according to well defined grading scale.




Calafiore, R., Basta, G., & Montanucci, P. (2017). Microencapsulation of islets for the treatment of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D). In Methods in Molecular Biology (Vol. 1479, pp. 283–304). Humana Press Inc.

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