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Advances in Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 429710, 15 pages
Review Article

Transplantation of Encapsulated Pancreatic Islets as a Treatment for Patients with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus

1Division of Transplantation/Department of Surgery, University of Illinois at Chicago, IL 60612, USA
2Department of Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases Research, Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, 1500 E. Duarte Road, Duarte, CA 91010, USA

Received 21 August 2013; Accepted 30 November 2013; Published 30 January 2014

Academic Editor: Stefano La Rosa

Copyright © 2014 Meirigeng Qi. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Encapsulation of pancreatic islets has been proposed and investigated for over three decades to improve islet transplantation outcomes and to eliminate the side effects of immunosuppressive medications. Of the numerous encapsulation systems developed in the past, microencapsulation have been studied most extensively so far. A wide variety of materials has been tested for microencapsulation in various animal models (including nonhuman primates or NHPs) and some materials were shown to induce immunoprotection to islet grafts without the need for chronic immunosuppression. Despite the initial success of microcapsules in NHP models, the combined use of islet transplantation (allograft) and microencapsulation has not yet been successful in clinical trials. This review consists of three sections: introduction to islet transplantation, transplantation of encapsulated pancreatic islets as a treatment for patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM), and present challenges and future perspectives.