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Bio-artificial synthetic pancreas

By September 15, 2017Health Tips

What are artificial pancreas?

The artificial pancreas is a technology in development to help people with diabetes automatically control their blood glucose level by providing the substitute endocrine functionality of a healthy pancreas.

There are several important exocrine (digestive) and endocrine (hormonal) functions of the pancreas, but it is the lack of insulin production which is the motivation to develop a substitute.

There are two goals of artificial pancreas:

  1. to improve insulin replacement therapy until glycemic control is practically normal as evident by the avoidance of the complications of hyperglycemia, and
  2. to ease the burden of therapy for the insulin-dependent.

What are bio-artificial pancreas?

A bioartificial pancreas is a therapeutic approach to enable pancreatic islet transplantation without or with minimal immune suppression. The bioartificial pancreas encapsulates the pancreatic islets in a semi-permeable environment which protects islets from the body’s immune responses, while allowing the permeation of insulin, oxygen, nutrients, and waste.

The device is a hollow tube made of a synthetic semi-permeable membrane with pancreatic islet cells attached to its outer surface. As the blood flows through the device, any sugar present in the blood diffuses across the membrane of the tube and triggers the secretion of insulin by the islet cells. The amount of insulin secretion would be precisely controlled by the cells, depending on the amount of sugar present in the blood stream.

Need for the device

  • Removes the need to constantly check blood glucose levels.
  • Removes the need to inject insulin.

The development of a bio-artificial pancreas consisting of a biocompatible sheet of encapsulated beta cells.

When surgically implanted, the islet sheet will behave as the endocrine pancreas delivering endocrine hormones in

response to glucose and will be viable for years.

Islet sheet research is pressing forward with large animal studies at the present, with plans for human clinical trials

within a few years.

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