ProjectDRIVE – Diabetes Reversing Implants with enhanced Viability and long-term Efficacy

Basic data

Diabetes Reversing Implants with enhanced Viability and long-term Efficacy
01/06/2015 to 31/05/2019
Abstract / short description:
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease characterised by high blood glucose due to inadequate insulin production
and/or insulin resistance which affects 382 million people worldwide. Pancreatic islet transplantation is an
extremely promising cure for insulin-sensitive diabetes mellitus (ISDM), but side effects of lifelong systemic
immunosuppressive therapy, short supply of donor islets and their poor survival and efficacy in the portal vein limit
the application of the current clinical procedure to the most at-risk brittle Type I diabetes (T1D) sufferers. The DRIVE
consortium will develop a novel suite of bio-interactive hydrogels (β-Gel) and on-demand drug release systems to
deliver islets in a protective macrocapsule (β-Shell) to the peritoneum with targeted deposition using a specialised
injection catheter (β-Cath). Pancreatic islets will be microencapsulated in β-Gels; biofunctionalised injectable
hydrogels containing immunosuppressive agents and polymeric microparticles with tuneable degradation profiles for
localised delivery of efficacy cues. These β-Gels will be housed in a porous retrievable macrocapsule, β-Shell, for
added retention, engraftment, oxygenation, vascularisation and immunoprotection of the islets. A minimally invasive
laparoscopic procedure (O-Fold) will be used to create an omental fold and at the same time deliver β-Shell. An
extended residence time in β-Gel will enhance long-term clinical efficacy of the islets and result in improved glycemic
control. The novel β-Gels will also be developed as human three-dimensional in-vitro models of in-vivo behaviour.
Islet harvesting and preservation technologies will be developed to facilitate their optimised yield, safe handling and
transport, and ease of storage. DRIVE will also enable the future treatment of a broader range of T1 and insulinsensitive
T2 diabetics by working with induced pluripotent stem cell experts to ensure the compatibility of our system
with future stem cell sources of β-cells.
Cell signalling and cellular interactions
Stem cell biology
Materials engineering
Medical devices

Involved staff


Natural and Medical Sciences Institute (NMI)
Associated institutes

Local organizational units

Faculty of Medicine
University of Tübingen

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