Figure 1. Beta-O2's bioartificial pancreas system. As reported by Ludwig et al., the bioartificial pancreas system from Beta-O2 Technologies Ltd. and collaborators restores normal blood glucose levels and improves glycemic control in rat models of diabetes.

Isolated islets are cultured in a medium containing the growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) agonist JI-36 (I). Islets are collected, mixed with a solution of high-guluronic acid alginate and transferred into a mold to create an islet-containing alginate slab. Next, the slab is installed into the islet module of the bioartificial pancreas and implanted into the host.

The porous outer membrane of the islet module and the alginate create an immune barrier to protect the islets from the host immune system while still allowing secreted factors such as insulin to pass through (II). The gas module supplies the islets with oxygen through the oxygen-permeable membrane. The metal grid in the islet module provides mechanical support for the implant. (Figure based on Figure 1 in ref. 1.)