JDRF video demonstrates the differences between micro-encapsulation and macro-encapsulation
A new video, “Sketching Encapsulation,” was created for JDRF’s FY2014 Annual Report. Albert J. Hwa, Ph.D., Director of Discovery Research at JDRF, explains encapsulation and outlines four encapsulation projects that are currently supported by JDRF.
“Over the last seven years, JDRF has cultivated several encapsulation research projects,” said Dr. Hwa. “A multi-pronged approach is necessary to understanding the best way to transplant healthy islets into people in need of functioning beta cells.”
To illustrate micro-encapsulation, Dr. Hwa uses a series of colorful drawings to outline a new technology for encapsulating islets inside materials coated with a human protein called CXCL12, which could improve the way encapsulated cell therapies work. JDRF-supported researcher Mark C. Poznansky, M.D., Ph.D., is investigating how CXCL12 could be used to improve the success of implanted encapsulated islets by creating a shield for the cells.
For macro-encapsulation, Dr. Hwa again uses illustrations to explain the concept behind of ViaCyte’s experimental product VC-01™, which has been shown to control blood-glucose levels in mice with diabetes and is now being tested in people with T1D. Dr. Hwa next explores two additional experimental macro-encapsulation devices that use different methods for supplying oxygen and other important nutrients to islets so they can continue to live and function. The company Beta-O2 is developing one such device being tested in a clinical trial in Sweden with human islets, and Jeffrey Karp, Ph.D., is developing another one which allows large numbers of islets to function normally while being protected from harmful immune responses.
“When we are able to place beta cells into a person and the cells are not harmed by the immune system and can thrive and function normally, we have reached a major goal,” concluded Dr. Hwa. An encapsulated beta cell therapy has the potential to virtually eliminate the daily burden for those living with T1D. For more information or to support JDRF’s Encapsulation Program, please click here.