Encapsulated cell therapy has the potential to virtually eliminate the relentless daily management burden for those living with T1D: no need for multiple daily insulin injections or pump therapy, no more constant blood testing and no more carb counting. People with T1D would just go about their daily lives for extended periods of time as if they didn’t even have the disease.


New beta cells are created and wrapped in a permeable, protective barrier which is implanted in the body. The new beta cells release insulin when needed while the barrier protects them from being destroyed by the autoimmune attack.


About a decade ago there was considerable excitement in the T1D community about islet cell transplants–the transplantation of insulin producing cells back into the body. But islet transplants have a big downside: high doses of potentially toxic immunosuppressive drugs are needed to block the same autoimmune attack that initially triggered T1D.

Encapsulation describes a therapy where a pouch composed of beta cells or islet cells, surrounded by a protective barrier, is implanted into the body. The barrier keeps the newly implanted cells alive by hiding them from the immune system, providing a safe environment where they can function normally. The cells constantly assess the amount of glucose in the blood and release exactly the correct amount of insulin. And unlike islet transplants, no immunosuppressive drugs are required.

In efforts to reach our ultimate goal of a world without T1D, JDRF has been a leader in driving encapsulation research forward. In fact, we have already supported some of the earliest human trials to evaluate select encapsulation strategies. Specifically, through our industry partnerships, JDRF is testing the ability of encapsulated pig islets to reverse severe hypoglycemic unawareness in humans. And we’re helping to advance encapsulated stem cell precursors to beta cells into human testing. In the years ahead, JDRF will advance a number of encapsulation approaches to human trials as quickly as possible to determine which are the most promising, effective, and safe to deliver to people living with T1D.

And although a lot of progress has been made, it will require tens of millions to continue. Support our efforts to find a cure—and together we can change Type One into Type None.

Help turn Type One into Type None.

Availability for T1Ds:
Mid term with growing portfolio of human testing in short-term.
Current Need:
$25 million
Anticipated 5-year need:
$60+ million

Every dollar will help bring us closer to a world without T1D. Please consider a donation today.

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