Transplantation of pancreatic islets is emerging as a successful treatment for type-1 diabetes. Its current stringent restriction to patients with critical metabolic lability is justified by the long-term need for immunosuppression and a persistent shortage of donor organs. We developed an oxygenated chamber system composed of immune-isolating alginate and polymembrane covers that allows for survival and function of islets without immunosuppression. A patient with type-1 diabetes received a transplanted chamber and was followed for 10 mo. Persistent graft function in this chamber system was demonstrated, with regulated insulin secretion and preservation of islet morphology and function without any immunosuppressive therapy. This approach may allow for future widespread application of cell-based therapies.
Keywords: immune barrier; oxygenation; β-cell replacement.