Pancreatic islet transplantation is a therapeutic option to replace destroyed β cells in autoimmune diabetes. Islets are transplanted into the liver via the portal vein; however, inflammation, the required immunosuppression, and lack of vasculature decrease early islet viability and function. Therefore, the use of accessory therapy and biomaterials to protect islets and improve islet function has definite therapeutic potential. Here we review the application of niche accessory cells and factors, as well as the use of biomaterials as carriers or capsules, for pancreatic islet transplantation.
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