Islet Capsule Lowers Blood Sugar Levels in Diabetic Rats

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Researchers at Kyoto University in Japan have discovered a technique in which a capsule containing pancreatic cells can be implanted into a patient with a minor case of diabetes.

In preliminary trials, pancreatic cells from a donor’s pancreas were implanted in the backs of five rats who suffered from diabetes. According to a recent issue of The Daily Yomiuri, the rats all demonstrated normal blood sugar levels for up to 80 days after taking the capsule.

The islets are enclosed in a 4.5-cubic-centimeter capsule, which could be implanted into a human being’s lower abdomen or thigh. According to Professor Kazutomo Inoue of the University Institute for Frontier Medical Science, the transplanted cells are expected to secrete insulin through holes just 200-billionths of a meter wide and not cause any side effects. The holes will not allow permeation of larger immunocytes, such as leukocytes and antibodies, and the recipient would not need immunosuppressants.

The research group has applied to Kyoto University’s bioethics committee to start clinical trials by the end of this year.

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