Transplantation of pancreatic islets for treating type 1 diabetes is restricted to patients with critical metabolic lability resulting from the need for immunosuppression and the shortage of donor organs. To overcome these barriers, we developed a strategy to macroencapsulate islets from different sources that allow their survival and function without immunosuppression. Here we report successful and safe transplantation of porcine islets with a bioartificial pancreas device in diabetic primates without any immune suppression. This strategy should lead to pioneering clinical trials with xenotransplantation for treatment of diabetes and, thereby, represents a previously unidentified approach to efficient cell replacement for a broad spectrum of endocrine disorders and other organ dysfunctions.
Keywords: beta-cell replacement; diabetes; immune barrier; porcine islets.
Published under the PNAS license.