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Cell encapsulation represents a promising therapeutic strategy for many hormone-deficient diseases such as type 1 diabetes (T1D). However, adequate oxygenation of the encapsulated cells remains a challenge, especially in the poorly oxygenated subcutaneous site. Here, we present an encapsulation system that generates oxygen (O2) for the cells from their own waste product, carbon dioxide (CO2), in a self-regulated (i.e., “inverse breathing”) way. We leveraged a gas-solid (CO2–lithium peroxide) reaction that was completely separated from the aqueous cellular environment by a gas permeable membrane. O2 measurements and imaging validated CO2-responsive O2 release, which improved cell survival in hypoxic conditions. Simulation-guided optimization yielded a device that restored normoglycemia of immunocompetent diabetic mice for over 3 months. Furthermore, functional islets were observed in scaled-up device implants in minipigs retrieved after 2 months. This inverse breathing device provides a potential system to support long-term cell function in the clinically attractive subcutaneous site.
A nanofibrous encapsulation device for safe delivery of insulin-producing cells to treat type 1 diabetesTransplantation of stem cell–derived β (SC-β) cells represents a promising therapy for type 1 diabetes (T1D). However, the delivery, maintenance, and retrieval of these cells remain a challenge. Here, we report the design of a safe and functional device composed of a highly porous, durable nanofibrous skin and an immunoprotective hydrogel core. The device consists of electrospun medical-grade thermoplastic silicone-polycarbonate-urethane and is soft but tough (~15 megapascal at a rupture strain of >2). Tuning the nanofiber size to less than ~500 nanometers prevented cell penetration while maintaining maximum mass transfer and decreased cellular overgrowth on blank (cell-free) devices to as low as a single-cell layer (~3 micrometers thick) when implanted in the peritoneal cavity of mice. We confirmed device safety, indicated as continuous containment of proliferative cells within the device for 5 months. Encapsulating syngeneic, allogeneic, or xenogeneic rodent islets within the device corrected chemically induced diabetes in mice and cells remained functional for up to 200 days. The function of human SC-β cells was supported by the device, and it reversed diabetes within 1 week of implantation in immunodeficient and immunocompetent mice, for up to 120 and 60 days, respectively. We demonstrated the scalability and retrievability of the devicemore »