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Posts Tagged ‘Cell transplants’


New Diabetes Treatment Using Smart Artificial Beta Cells

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

Researchers from University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University developed a patient friendly option that treats type 1 diabetes and in some cases type two diabetes by using “artificial beta cells, AβCs” to release insulin automatically into the bloodstream when glucose levels rise. These artificial beta cells mimic functions of the body’s natural glucose controllers, the insulin secreting beta cells of the pancreas. The AβCs could be subcutaneously implanted into patients, which would be replaced every few days or by a disposable skin patch. According to the principal investigator, Zhen Gu, PhD at joint UNC/NC State Department of Biomedical Engineering, they plan to optimize the procedure to develop a skin patch delivery system and test diabetes in patients.
Currently, the major problem with the insulin diabetes treatment is that they can’t be delivered efficiently in a pill and the only option is either by injection or a mechanical pump. Delivering the insulin treatments via transplants of pancreatic cells can solve that problem in some cases. Nevertheless, such cell transplants are expensive, require donor cells that are in short supply, require immune-suppressing drugs and fail due to the destruction of the transplanted cells.
Gu’s AβCs are built with a basic version of a normal cell’s two-layered lipid membrane and show a rapid receptiveness to excess glucose levels in lab dish test and diabetic mice without beta cells. The key novelty is what these cells contain insulin-stuffed vesicles. An increase in blood glucose levels leads to chemical changes in the vesicle coating, producing the vesicles to start fusing with the AβC’s outer membrane thus releasing the insulin.

SOURCE

https://news.unchealthcare.org/news/2017/october/smart-artificial-beta-cells-could-lead-to-new-diabetes-treatment

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