Bioartificial Pancreas

Our bioartificial pancreas replaces malfunctioning islets of Langerhans. It responds to changing blood composition with release of hormones including insulin. Several sheets will be implanted into the peritoneal cavity of the person with diabetes. Each sheet is several centimeters in diameter, 0.25 millimeters thick, and contains two to three million cells. Four to six such sheets could contain enough islet tissue to cure diabetes in an average adult.

Islets are kept alive by diffusion of oxygen, glucose and other nutrients into the sheet; insulin, hormones and waste products diffuse out of the sheet. The sheet is so thin that diffusion alone allows sufficient nutrients to reach all parts of the sheet. A coat on the exterior of the sheet prevents contact between endocrine cells inside and immune effector cells of the host as well as inhibiting diffusion of antibody and complement. Therefore, no immune suppression drugs are needed.

The sheet may be removed, supplemented or replaced at any time, an advantage from a safety and regulatory perspective. Surgery will be minimally invasive, using laparoscopic equipment.

Other Bioartificial Organs

The Company anticipates that it will have many opportunities to develop other bioartificial organs in collaboration with owners of proprietary cell lines. Tissues may be incorporated into thin sheets to treat medical needs other than diabetes. The concept is not limited to human or even mammalian cells: an engineered cell line secreting erythropoietin, an immune modulator, a hormone or an anti-neoplastic agent can be implanted.