Our pioneering research
Successful encapsulated beta cell replacement therapies will bring the same benefits as islet cell transplantation—a treatment that, not long ago, created tremendous excitement in the T1D community. Research has shown that many recipients of these transplants can achieve normalized blood-glucose control for up to five years or longer. But widespread use of islet transplants is not possible for two reasons: not enough islets are available; and transplant recipients must take powerful drugs to prevent the immune system from destroying the transplanted cells. Encapsulated beta cell replacement therapies have the potential to overcome both obstacles.
Beta cells are the islet cells responsible for producing insulin. JDRF has been a driving force behind encapsulation research that could make beta cell replacement a widely available option for people with T1D. To date, our efforts have resulted in techniques for scaling up production of implantable cells that can become islets, the design of encapsulation materials that show promise in blocking an immune system attack and the launch of human clinical trials to test the safety and efficacy of these therapies.