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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering
SJR: 0.207 SNIP: 0.376 CiteScore™: 0.79

ISSN Print: 0278-940X
ISSN Online: 1943-619X

Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevBiomedEng.v39.i6.40
pages 535-555

Role of Substrates in Diabetes Therapy:Stem Cell Differentiation and Islet Transplantation

Joseph E . Candiello
Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Maria Jaramillo
Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Saik-Kia Goh
Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Ipsita Banerjee
Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania;Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Type 1 diabetes affects more than a million people in the United States and many more across the world. While pharmaceutical interventions and insulin supplementation are the most commonplace treatment of diabetes, these are not essentially cures and can potentially lead to long-term complications. Transplantation of insulin-producing Islets of Langerhans from donor pancreas has been established as a promising alternative to diabetes therapy. While successful islet transplantation has the potential of providing a cure, the primary hurdles to be overcome for it to be clinically viable are the scarcity of donor islets and immune rejection of transplanted islets. Recent advances in stem cell culture and differentiation techniques have established stem cells as a likely source of transplantable islets. Different stem cell sources have been induced toward pancreatic differentiation using specific chemical perturbations along with use of specific substrates. An approach to overcoming the second hurdle of immune rejection of transplantable islets is to encapsulate the islets in specific biomaterials. In this review, we discuss the extensive use of various substrates for pancreatic differentiation of different stem cell sources, along with different biomaterial designs used for islet transplantation.

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