Emergent technologies of regenerative medicine have the potential to overcome the limitations of organ transplantation by supplying tissues and organs bioengineered in the laboratory. Pancreas bioengineering requires a scaffold that approximates the biochemical, spatial and vascular relationships of the native extracellular matrix (ECM). We describe the generation of a whole organ, three-dimensional pancreas scaffold using acellular porcine pancreas. Imaging studies confirm that our protocol effectively removes cellular material while preserving ECM proteins and the native vascular tree. The scaffold was seeded with human stem cells and porcine pancreatic islets, demonstrating that the decellularized pancreas can support cellular adhesion and maintenance of cell functions. These findings advance the field of regenerative medicine towards the development of a fully functional, bioengineered pancreas capable of establishing and sustaining euglycemia and may be used for transplantation to cure diabetes mellitus.
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