Widespread use of pancreatic islet transplantation for treatment of type 1 diabetes (T1D) is currently limited by requirements for long-term immunosuppression, limited donor supply, and poor long-term engraftment and function. Upon isolation from their native microenvironment, islets undergo rapid apoptosis, which is further exacerbated by poor oxygen and nutrient supply following infusion into the portal vein.

Identifying alternative strategies to restore critical microenvironmental cues, while maximizing islet health and function, is needed to advance this cellular therapy. Oligomer-islet macroencapsulation may provide a useful strategy for prolonging the health and function of cultured islets and has potential as a subcutaneous injectable islet transplantation strategy for treatment of T1D.

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2018 Oct 1;315(4):E650-E661.