Current Diabetes Reports

, 19:53 | Cite as

Bioprinting an Artificial Pancreas for Type 1 Diabetes

  • Juewan Kim
  • Kyungwon Kang
  • Christopher J. Drogemuller
  • Gordon G. Wallace
  • P. Toby CoatesEmail author
Immunology, Transplantation, and Regenerative Medicine (L Piemonti and V Sordi, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Immunology, Transplantation, and Regenerative Medicine


Purpose of Review

Pancreatic islet cell transplantation is currently the only curative cell therapy for type 1 diabetes mellitus. However, its potential to treat many more patients is limited by several challenges. The emergence of 3D bioprinting technology from recent advances in 3D printing, biomaterials, and cell biology has provided the means to overcome these challenges.

Recent Findings

3D bioprinting allows for the precise fabrication of complex 3D architectures containing spatially distributed cells, biomaterials (bioink), and bioactive factors. Different strategies to capitalize on this ability have been investigated for the 3D bioprinting of pancreatic islets. In particular, with co-axial bioprinting technology, the co-printability of islets with supporting cells such as endothelial progenitor cells and regulatory T cells, which have been shown to accelerate revascularization of islets and improve the outcome of various transplantations, respectively, has been achieved.


3D bioprinting of islets for generation of an artificial pancreas is a newly emerging field of study with a vast potential to improve islet transplantation.


3D bioprinting Pancreatic islet transplantation Regulatory T cell therapy Endothelial progenitor cell therapy Type 1 diabetes 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juewan Kim
    • 1
  • Kyungwon Kang
    • 2
  • Christopher J. Drogemuller
    • 2
    • 3
  • Gordon G. Wallace
    • 4
  • P. Toby Coates
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology, School of Biological SciencesThe University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Discipline of Medicine, School of MedicineThe University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.Central Northern Adelaide Renal and Transplantation Service (CNARTS)The Royal Adelaide HospitalAdelaideAustralia
  4. 4.Intelligent Polymer Research Institute, ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterial ScienceUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia

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