Boosting survival of insulin-cell transplants for Type 1 Diabetes

July 7, 2008
Scientists have developed a process that could could improve transplants of insulin-producing cells for treating diabetes. The new method prevents destruction of those cells by coating them with heparin. Courtesy of the American Chemical Society

Researchers in Japan are reporting a discovery that could improve the effectiveness and expand the use of transplants of insulin-producing cells to treat diabetes. Their study is scheduled for the July 16 issue of ACS' Bioconjugate Chemistry. Insulin-dependent, or Type 1, diabetes affects about 800,000 people in the United States.

In the new study, Yuji Teramura and Hiroo Iwata point out that transplantation of the pancreas's insulin producing cells, so-called islets of Langerhans, is a promising experimental technique for treating patients with insulin-dependent diabetes.

However, the procedure is not sufficiently effective for many people. This is because the body destroys many of the islet cells right after transplantation in an inflammatory reaction triggered by blood clotting on the surface of the cells, the researchers say.

To address this problem, the scientists coated islet cells with a special polymer film containing heparin, an anticoagulant, or urokinase, a medication that dissolves blood clots. In laboratory studies, the researchers showed that the coatings delayed the clotting long enough to prevent the destruction that otherwise would occur immediately after transplantation.

The coatings did not affect the ability of the cells to produce insulin, the researchers add.

Source: ACS

Explore further: Development of growth factor-free tissue adhesive porous films capable of promoting angiogenesis

Related Stories

Biophysicists take small step in quest for 'robot scientist'

August 25, 2015

Biophysicists have taken another small step forward in the quest for an automated method to infer models describing a system's dynamics - a so-called robot scientist. Nature Communications published the finding - a practical ...

Study describes underlying cause of diabetes in dogs

August 17, 2015

In a new effort, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Baylor College of Medicine have used advanced imaging technology to fill in details about the underlying cause of canine diabetes, which until now has been ...

Yes, you can make alcohol from Vegemite, but ...

August 14, 2015

Vegemite has been in the news of late for all the wrong reasons. It all started when Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion said he'd heard the yeast extract was being used in dry communities to brew alcohol.

Recommended for you

Interactive tool lifts veil on the cost of nuclear energy

August 24, 2015

Despite the ever-changing landscape of energy economics, subject to the influence of new technologies and geopolitics, a new tool promises to root discussions about the cost of nuclear energy in hard evidence rather than ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.