Novel Oxygen-Generating Biomaterials Developed to Improve Islet Encapsulation

A major challenge to developing a successful beta cell encapsulation product for T1D is the need to provide adequate oxygen levels to these cells to maintain their health. The development of methods to increase oxygen availability within encapsulated implants, particularly soon after the implant, would help reduce low oxygen-induced cell death. In this report the authors designed and developed an oxygen-generating biomaterial able to generate oxygen for more than 6 weeks. The ability of this oxygen-generating material to support cell survival was evaluated using a beta cell line and pancreatic rat islets. Studies showed the biomaterial eliminated low oxygen-induced cell death for both cell types. The biomaterial also sustained enhanced beta cell proliferation for more than 3 weeks under low oxygen conditions.


Pedraza, E., Coronel, MM., Fraker, CA., Ricordi, C. and Stabler, CL. (2012), Preventing hypoxia-induced cell death in beta cells and islets via hydrolytically activated, oxygen-generating biomaterials Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Mar 13;109(11):4245-50.

Ramifications for Individuals with Type 1 Diabetes:

These researchers developed a novel biomaterial that generates oxygen at levels that support the health and growth of beta cells. The unique properties of this novel biomaterial address one of the key issues to the success of the implantation of encapsulated islets. Encapsulation is a key technology that may enable immunosuppression-free beta cell replacement therapy for many T1D patients.

JDRF Involvement:

This work was supported in part by JDRF.