Ospedale Niguarda Ca’ Granda has succeeded in treating a patient with type 1 diabetes, using a new tissue engineering techniques for more effective islet transplants – something that could bring this diabetes cure to more patients.
Biotech is tackling diabetes from several fronts – from mitigation of symptoms, for example, Avita’s skin spray, to medtech inventions such as needle-free glucose sensors or bionic pancreas and innovative drugs like super-insulin or inhaled insulin.
For type 1 diabetes, a severe inflammatory disease where insulin-producing cells are destroyed, a possible line of therapy is transplanting islets – a smaller unit of the pancreas which is responsible for insulin production.
Islet transplants have been around for a while. In 2000, patients in a trial were able to stop their daily insulin injections after successful transplants (you can read a review of the Islet medtech field here) – a big deal!
However, there are still many challenges: limited supply of organ donors,