Students Invent a Protective Pouch to Hold Transplanted Beta Cells

| Jul 23, 2007

A team of five seniors and two freshmen at Johns Hopkins University has devised a little "pouch" to hold microcapsules of beta cells in the portal vein, from which the cells can send out insulin while safely protected inside. It's made by sandwiching a porous cylinder of nylon mesh between two cylindrical metal stents, similar to the ones that are used to keep clogged blood vessels open.

The pouch is inserted into the abdomen from the femoral vein in the leg. First the compressed outer stent is threaded into the portal vein, where it pushes out on it harmlessly. Then the inner stent, surrounded by the nylon mesh cylinder, is compressed and inserted. Once in place, the inner stent snaps back to its original shape and the nylon mesh is held snugly against it.

Semi-permeable alginate microcapsules containing beta cells are injected into the space between the two metal stents, where they become trapped within the nylon mesh. The alginate microcapsules protect the cells from attack by the immune system. The openings in the mesh are big enough to allow blood through but too small to allow the microcapsules to escape.

The blood flowing though the cylinder nourishes the encapsulated cells trapped within the mesh and circulates the insulin they produce. The device allows for the microcapsules to be removed and refilled as necessary.

The Johns Hopkins staff has applied for a patent, and animal testing is expected to begin this summer. If those trials are successful, human trials would be next.

* * *

Source: Johns Hopkins News Release

Click Here To View Or Post Comments

Categories: Beta Cells, Insulin, Medications, Professional Issues, Type 1 Issues

Take the Diabetes Health Pump Survey
See What's Inside
Read this FREE issue now
For healthcare professionals only
  • 12th Annual Product Reference Guide
  • Insulin Syringe Chart
  • Insulin Pen Needles Chart
  • Fast-Acting Glucose
  • Sharps Disposal
  • Blood Glucose Meters Chart
  • Insulin Pumps Chart
See the entire table of contents here!

You can view the current or previous issues of Diabetes Health online, in their entirety, anytime you want.
Click Here To View

See if you qualify for our free healthcare professional magazines. Click here to start your application for Pre-Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Pharmacist and Diabetes Health Professional.

Learn More About the Professional Subscription

Free Diabetes Health e-Newsletter

Top Rated
Print | Email | Share | Comments (0)

You May Also Be Interested In...


Add your comments about this article below. You can add comments as a registered user or anonymously. If you choose to post anonymously your comments will be sent to our moderator for approval before they appear on this page. If you choose to post as a registered user your comments will appear instantly.

When voicing your views via the comment feature, please respect the Diabetes Health community by refraining from comments that could be considered offensive to other people. Diabetes Health reserves the right to remove comments when necessary to maintain the cordial voice of the diabetes community.

For your privacy and protection, we ask that you do not include personal details such as address or telephone number in any comments posted.

Don't have your Diabetes Health Username? Register now and add your comments to all our content.

Have Your Say...

Username: Password:
©1991-2015 Diabetes Health | Home | Privacy | Press | Advertising | Help | Contact Us | Donate | Sitemap

Diabetes Health Medical Disclaimer

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of writers, contributors, and commentators, and are not necessarily those of Diabetes Health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website.