Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Lipid Research have developed a 3D-printing strategy to fabricate devices for the transplantation of insulin-producing cells. The approach could someday be used to transplant cells to control blood sugar in diabetic patients.
The team, consisting of first author Jiwon Song and led by Dr. Jeffrey Millman, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Engineering, fabricated devices out of a biocompatible polymer called polylactic acid. The device was designed with large pores that were loaded with insulin-producing cells generated from human stem cells in a degradable hydrogel. When transplanted into mice, the cell-loaded device would secrete insulin in response to sugar.