Lung Based Engineered Micro-Pancreas Sustains Human Beta Cell Survival and Functionality

Horm Metab Res. 2019 Dec;51(12):805-811. doi: 10.1055/a-1041-3305. Epub 2019 Dec 11.


The whole world has been affected by a dramatically increasing prevalence of diabetes. Today, the etiology of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes is thought to revolve around the dysfunction of β-cells, the insulin producing cells of the body. Within the pharmaceutical industry, the evaluation of new drugs for diabetes treatment is mostly done using cell lines or rodent islets and depends solely on the assessment of static insulin secretion. However, the use of cell lines or rodent islets is limiting lack of similarity of the human islet cells, leading to a constrain of the predictive value regarding the clinical potential of newly developed drugs. To overcome this issue, we developed an Engineered Micro-Pancreas as a unique platform for drug discovery. The Engineered Micro Pancreas is composed of (i) an organ-derived micro-scaffold, specifically a decellularized porcine lung-derived micro-scaffold and (ii) cadaveric islets seeded thereon. The Engineered Micro Pancreas remained viable and maintained insulin secretion in vitro for up to three months. The quantities of insulin were comparable to those secreted by freshly isolated human islets and therefore hold the potential for real-time and metabolic physiology mimicking drug screening.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Survival
  • Drug Discovery
  • Extracellular Matrix / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / cytology
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism*
  • Lung / chemistry*
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Pancreas / growth & development
  • Pancreas / metabolism*
  • Swine
  • Tissue Engineering / instrumentation
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*
  • Tissue Scaffolds / chemistry*


  • Insulin