Collagen-based material could help improve islet cell transplantation in type 1 diabetes

Jack Woodfield
Wed, 27 Jun 2018
Collagen-based material could help improve islet cell transplantation in type 1 diabetes
A collagen-based material could help improve a pioneering type 1 diabetes treatment, according to US researchers.

Indiana University School of Medicine researchers report that the material improved the outcome of islet cell transplants in genetically engineered mouse models of diabetes.

When injected with groups of beta cells, the collagen material helped return blood sugar levels to normal within 24 hours. It is thought these findings could pave the way for a new injectable islet transplant therapy.

Islet transplants, which involve extracting islets from a working pancreas and moving them into a person with diabetes, are carried out rarely. This is because keeping the transplanted islets healthy is not straightforward once they have been moved. A lot of research is currently investigating simple and effective ways to maintain their function for longer.

This study involved using different amounts of the collagen material onto the mice islets. Their health, function and performance was then checked two weeks later. The islets were transplanted into the diabetic animals and their blood sugar levels were monitored once the procedure had been completed.

The research team found lab tests to show that putting more collagen on the islets meant better structure and function.

These findings suggest that using this new technique involving the collagen material could potentially make islet transplants more effective, particularly if the beta cells can be grown from the person's own cells which would restrict the need for immunosuppressant drugs.

However, more work must be carried out and the therapy will need to be trialled in humans before it can be considered for public use.

The results have been published online in the American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology &Metabolism.
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