Companies Continue on Road to Islet Transplantation

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In the hopes that its islet-reproducing technology will soon be perfected, biotech company Desmos is partnering with other companies to work on technology that protects the islets after transplantation.

Donor pancreases for islet transplants are hard to come by, and these copied versions may be ideal substitutes. Desmos claims to have achieved reproduction of human islets, making millions out of one. Currently the islets are being transplanted in mice models without a diabetic autoimmune response, to see if they remain functional and for how long.

Once these copied islets are transplanted, however, they still face destruction from the body’s autoimmune system, which is where other companies come in. Desmos is working with several possible partners that are developing devices to protect islets from the autoimmune response. TheraCyte is one of several owners of islet encapsulation technology. Islets are placed in a capsule which, if successful, will let insulin flow out, but keep the body’s immune response agents from coming in.

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