Encapsulation of stem cell-derived beta cells controls blood glucose in immune-competent mice

January 25, 2016

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Jeffrey R. Millman, PhD co-authored Long-term glycemic control using polymer-encapsulated human stem cell–derived beta cells in immune-competent mice published online in Nature Medicine. This new research demonstrates that by encapsulating stem cell-derived pancreatic cells in new biomaterial (TMTD alginate), the pancreatic cells can be protected against an attack by the immune system in mice for up to six months while continuing to be able to sense low blood sugar and produce insulin in response.

Protection of transplanted pancreatic cells from an attack by the immune system is important because hundreds of diabetes patients have already had faulty cells in the pancreas replaced, but their immune system attacks the implanted cells believing it is an unwanted pathogen. This results in the patients having to take immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of their lives.

This work originates from Millman’s previous research work with Dr. Douglas Melton at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.

Jeffrey Millman, PhD

Jeffrey Millman joined the Department of Medicine faculty and the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Lipid Research in July, 2015. Millman received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2011. He completed his postdoctoral research fellowship at Harvard University with Dr. Douglas Melton, developing methods to generate functional pancreatic insulin-producing β cells from human stem cells, and received a Harvard Stem Cell Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Millman’s lab research is focused on the in vitro production and study of pancreatic insulin-producing β cells from human pluripotent stem cells for use in cellular replacement therapy and drug screening.