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07 - 01 - 2018

Type 1 diabetes: will insulin injections become obsolete?

Researchers have developed an insulin-secreting cell implant that regulates blood glucose levels in an animal model of type 1 diabetes for several months.


For people with type 1 diabetes, daily insulin injections are a matter of life and death and are a heavy burden.


Many research teams are trying to find an alternative method to injections. The transplantation of insulin-producing cells is a well-studied path, but the body rapidly destroys them.


A team of researchers has devised and developed a system that keeps hundreds of thousands of cells attached to a polymer wire in a hydrogel. The hydrogel protects the cells of the immune system, and the wire allows them to be removed. This system once laparoscopically placed in the abdomen should work for 6 to 24 months.



When placed in a diabetic mouse, the system returned the blood glucose levels to normal in just two days and for the duration of the three months long study. In dogs, the body's response to the system's fixation in the abdomen and the ease of it’s removal was evaluated. No or very few adhesions were found.


The system has been patented. It will be developed in collaboration with the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk.