Encapsulation and Transplantation of Pancreatic Progenitor Cells
Type 1 diabetes, characterized by autoimmune destruction of pancreatic beta cells, affects 41 million people worldwide. Beta cell replacement therapies have immense potential as a treatment option because pancreatic progenitors derived from human pluripotent stem cells can provide a near limitless supply of transplantable tissue. The key limitation of this approach is the need for lifelong use of immunosuppressive drugs that have undesirable side effects. Microencapsulation is an option for providing protection for transplanted cells from mechanical stress and immune attack. Traditionally, pluripotent cells are differentiated on a 2D matrix before being transferred into an immunoisolation device. Here, we describe a method of differentiating pluripotent stem cells into pancreatic progenitors while the cells are encapsulated in alginate microspheres. This method provides several advantages including the need for fewer steps compared to the traditional approach, protection against mechanical/physical damage during differentiation in bioreactors, and immune-protection of cells once transplanted into the host.
Key wordsDifferentiation Pancreatic progenitors Alginate Encapsulation
Thank you Dr. Michael Morris for assisting in the preparation of the manuscript.
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