The EU’s Community Research and Development Information Service publication this month reported on the research: “The perspective of lifetime drug administration or insulin infusion is, to say the least, demoralising. And it gets worse for those diabetic patients who don’t respond to insulin administration or don’t experience symptoms of hypoglycemia: They are left with either organ or cadaveric pancreatic islet transplantation options, both suffering from a shortage of donors and limited lifespan.”
Overcoming these problems is the aim of NEXT and the project’s biomaterials, developed at the CRMD, are considered one of its most important breakthroughs.
Professor Santin said: “If all goes as planned, NEXT technology could also expand the current clinical procedure of pancreatic islet transplantation to the use of animal tissues and not only cadaveric specimens.
“The technology will enable the establishment of cell banks to be used for the production of immunoprotected biochips, thus solving the problem of donor shortage and immune reactions upon transplantation. We are also developing these biochips in organ-on-chip devices for the reliable testing of new drugs. These devices are expected to reduce the need for animal experimentation.”