A 3D printing technique known as bioplotting is being examined by researchers as a potential treatment for type 1 diabetes. This approach is being developed so islet cells, which are cell groups comprised of insulin-producing beta cells, can be transplanted into patients with type 1 diabetes while being fully protected.
Researchers at the University of Twente, the Netherlands, have been working on how clusters of islet cells could be 3D printer into a scaffold, made from a mixture of alginate and gelatine.
Not only would this serve to protect the cells from immune system destruction, which characterises type 1 diabetes, but immunosuppressant drugs to prevent this attack, which is normally a side effect of islet cell encapsulation, may not be necessary.
By shielding these islet cells, they have a better chance of functioning properly once in place and allowing insulin and blood to pass through. The scaffold also prevents the cells from migrating through the body following transplantation. … (read more)