Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Capsules Against Diabetes

Date:
June 25, 2007
Source:
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Summary:
There is renewed hope for treatment of diabetes type 1 with gel capsules: Biotechnologists have developed a new type of alginate capsule that could solve the problem of the body's immune system recognizing and attacking alien, implanted insulin cells.

HUMAN EYE TISSUE: Clusters of insulin-producing cells marked with special chemicals that make living cells green and dead cells red. The cell clusters measure 50 to 200 micrometre.
Credit: Berit L. Strand

There is renewed hope for treatment of diabetes type 1 with gel capsules: Biotechnologists at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) have developed a new type of alginate capsule that could solve the problem of the body’s immune system recognizing and attacking alien, implanted insulin cells.

If this becomes a medical reality, diabetes patients with transplanted insulin-producing donor cells in their abdominal cavity do not have to take immunosuppressants for the rest of their life – medication which involves a high risk of infections and cancer.

Researchers also envision using the innovation in the treatment of certain types of cancer.

The Trondheim Capsule

The new capsule, called TAM (the Trondheim Alginate Microcapsule), is designed with a view to camouflage the insulin-producing cells to the body’s immune system.

”If the capsule is to function well, it needs to be suitably porous so that it allows nutrients to enter the insulin cells while insulin is transported out. It must be suitably small, and it must be stabile so it doesn’t swell and gradually break. We seem to be in the process of solving all these challenges," says Research Fellow Yrr Mørch from the Capsule Group at NTNU.

Her research environment, headed by Professor Gudmund Skjåk-Bræk, participates in an international cooperation called «The Chicago Project». The aim is to find a functional cure for diabetes type 1.

A solution around the corner

Alginate capsules with insulin cells are currently not used in the treatment of diabetes patients, even though the idea is far from new. As early as in the 1990s, an American had an alginate capsule with insulin cells produced in Trondheim implanted.

It appeared to be a success, but how well the old capsule actually functioned remained unanswered as the American had also had a kidney transplant and already took immunosuppressants.

Animal experiments later revealed that the capsule did not function satisfactorily. The main reason being polylysine, a substance used on the capsule’s outside to improve stability and make it less porous. This substance is toxic and triggers the immune system, which results in immune cells attaching to the capsule surface and hampering the diffusion of substances in and out of the capsule. The result is cell death.

Thorough basic research and several doctoral degrees later, the solution to the immune problem related to the transplant of capsules with insulin producing cells appears to be close. However, many years are likely to pass before the method can be used in patients. 

Tailored alginate

Alginate is a long sugar molecule that stiffens kelp in the same way as cellulose makes the trees stand upright. Kelp has been researched at NTNU/former NTH for 50 years. Several of the alginate’s secrets are therefore revealed, including its structure.

Researchers have managed to isolate, clone and produce in large scale an enzyme involved in the construction of the alginate in different ways. That means that the researchers themselves can build the nanostructure of alginate so the molecule gets the desired properties.

Researchers envision tailoring different alginate capsules for individual use in the near future.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Norwegian University of Science and Technology. "Capsules Against Diabetes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 June 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070624121236.htm>.
Norwegian University of Science and Technology. (2007, June 25). Capsules Against Diabetes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070624121236.htm
Norwegian University of Science and Technology. "Capsules Against Diabetes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070624121236.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) — A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — Angelina's Jolie's decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy in 2013 inspired many women to seek early screenings for the disease. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) — As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins