MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a major health problem affecting over 1.25 children and adults in the United States alone. It also affects our beloved companion animals, with 1 out of every 100 dogs and cats having this condition.
T1D results from an autoimmune condition, where the patient’s body, by mistake, attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas (β cells) that are responsible for regulating blood glucose levels by producing insulin. While injectable insulin represents the standard of care for these patients, it provides an inferior control system relative to functional β cells, leaving the majority of patients at risk for life-threatening complications. Although transplantation of pancreatic islets, which contain replacement β cells, via portal vein injection into the liver, is an attractive therapeutic alternative for these patients, persistent risks and challenges preclude its more widespread clinical adoption. These include rapid destruction and loss of function of the majority of donor cells upon transplantation and the need for life-long immunosuppression.
This study evaluated a novel packaging strategy for the delivery and maintenance of functional donor islets beneath the skin, resulting in rapid and extended reversal of T1D in diabetic mice.