Bioartificial pancreas beta test
Beta-O2 Technologies Ltd. and an international team of academic collaborators have shown that the company's bioartificial pancreas can house donor islets, supply them with oxygen and protect them from the host immune system in vivo for at least three months.1 They also demonstrated that the minimally invasive implant could normalize blood glucose levels and improve glycemic control in rat models of diabetes. The team hopes to start a trial of the implant in a single patient this year.
Islet transplantation for type 1 diabetes has seen limited use in the clinic due to the short supply of donor tissue and because islet cells have high oxygen demands that make them particularly intolerant of the hypoxic conditions encountered during isolation and transplantation.
In addition, islet transplant recipients require immunosuppressive drugs to prevent graft rejection. These drugs not only carry the risk of serious infections and malignancies but also can impair the revascularization and function of grafted islets.2,3
Finally, standard islet transplantation procedures involve using a catheter to infuse islets into the portal vein of the liver. This procedure, while minimally