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06-16-2018 | Devices and technology | Review | Article

Transplantation of Macroencapsulated Insulin-Producing Cells

Current Diabetes Reports

Authors: Albert J. Hwa, Gordon C. Weir

Publisher: Springer US


Purpose of Review

There is considerable interest in using macroencapsulation devices as a delivery strategy for transplanting insulin-producing cells. This review aims to summarize recent advances, to highlight remaining challenges, and to provide recommendations for the field.

Recent Findings

A variety of new device designs have been reported to improve biocompatibility and to provide protection for islet/beta cells from immune destruction while allowing continuous secretion of insulin. Some of these new approaches are in clinical trials, but more research is needed to determine how sufficient beta-cell mass can be transplanted in a clinically applicable device size, and that insulin is secreted with kinetics that will safely provide adequate controls of glucose levels.


Macroencapsulation is a potential solution to transplant beta cells without immunosuppression in diabetes patients, but new strategies must be developed to show that this approach is feasible.

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