Diabetes: Transplantation of Animal Islet Cells Without Intervention in the Immune System Is Approaching

Mode of action of the bio-reactor

Research team succeeds in the animal model for the first time the successful and safe transplantation of islet cells of a pig by means of an artificial pancreas

Diabetes mellitus type 1 is an autoimmune disease that leads to the irreversible destruction of insulin-producing beta cells, also called islet cells. Considerable progress has been made in beta cell replacement therapies in recent decades. The lack of appropriate donor organs and the need for sustained suppression of the immune system to prevent rejection, however, critically limits widespread use of these strategies. In a recent publication in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America” ​​(PNAS), an international research group of diabetes specialists and surgeons around the Dresden scientists will present private lecturer Dr. Barbara Ludwig, Dr. Stefan Ludwig and Prof. Stefan R. Bornstein of the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus an experimental study with an artificial pancreas.This bio-reactor, developed with the Israeli company “Beta-O2 Technologies Ltd.”, allows the transplantation of alien, ie xenogeneic islet cells without In cooperation with the German Primate Center in Göttingen, the researchers were able to demonstrate stable transplant function and sufficient glucose-regulated insulin secretion in non-human primates without the need for immunosuppressive medication d safe use of various cell-based therapies.

To date, islet cell transplantation for the treatment of type 1 diabetes has been limited to patients whose metabolism has become critically unstable as a result of the disease. This is due in particular to the need for permanent immunosuppression and to the lack of suitable donor organs. Although great progress has been made in beta cell replacement therapies in recent decades, these two factors still currently severely limit the widespread use of this therapeutic option. To overcome these difficulties, Dr. Ludwig and her colleagues formulated a strategy to encapsulate islands of various sources in an artificial, bioartificial pancreas, which allows their survival and function without immunosuppression after transplantation. In the current PNAS publication, they describe an experimental study in which such a bioartificial pancreas is implanted for transplantation of xenogeneic islands into diabetic non-human primates without compromising the immune system. “We were able to prove a stable transplant function.The disseminated islet cells implanted with the capsule provided sufficient glucose-regulated delivery of insulin into the body, “explains Dr. med. Barbara Ludwig, who together with the surgeon dr. Stefan Ludwig was first author of the study and associated with the Paul Langerhans Institute Dresden (PLID) and the DFG Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD), a cluster of excellence at the TU Dresden. “A dose of medication to suppress the immune system was not necessary because of the capsule, which leaves out only the insulin produced by the alien cells.” Prof. Stefan R. Bornstein, Director of the Medical Clinic III of the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus, last author of the study and also closely linked to the PLID and the CRTD, describes the chances of this approach: “Against the background of the lack of suitable pancreatic donor organs, this strategy opens up entirely new possibilities for a broader and safer use of different cell-based therapies.” This is the groundbreaking development With Dresden participation was possible, is no coincidence. Diabetes research is a major focus of the Dresden University Medical Center, with the Paul Langerhans Institute being a partner site of the German Center for Diabetes Research DZD. In addition, there is a unique connection between the TU Dresden and King’s College London – both founded a joint transCampus. The transCampus London – Dresden is one of the largest transplant centers in the world for islet, kidney and bone marrow transplantation.

Source : TU Dresden