IIT-B scientists develop artificial pancreas to benefit diabetes patients

Scientists from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Mumbai, have created an artificial-pancreas, which would benefit the patients suffering from diabetes. Researchers say that they have implanted this device in the mice and conducted a 30-day trial and found that these implants caused no abnormalities to other organs

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  • The researchers from IIT-B have developed a bioartificial pancreas using a polymer-based fiber membrane, which is hollow, porous thread. 
  • Its special feature is that it is biocompatible, so it can be put inside an animal for and can stay there for a long time.
  • This device is a thin thread and can be injected using a minor (keyhole) surgery or with a special syringe into the abdominal cavity of a patient.
  • With this innovation, the patient will be free from insulin-dependence or it can be reduced.

Around 65 million people in India are diabetic, which makes India a diabetes capital of the world. Diabetes is spreading as an epidemic, and it’s a huge burden as well. But an innovative device developed by the researchers of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) could prove to be a path-breaking study in the field of diabetes research.

While speaking to My Medical Mantra, IIT-B’s chemical engineering department’s professor Jayesh Bellare said, “This device is a thin thread and can be injected using a minor (keyhole) surgery or with a special syringe into the abdominal cavity of a patient. When pancreatic cells grow inside the thread, the factors and enzymes which they secrete are selectively passed from the hollow parts of the thread. The wall of the thread-tube selectively retains certain constituents and allows others to pass through.”

A team led by professor Jayesh Bellare started research in 2008, and in 2016, the team conducted the clinical trials on mice.

Bellare said, “We implanted these devices into diabetic mice for 30 days and found that these implants caused no abnormalities to the other organs. In addition to this, the immune cells of the mice did not attack these implants, and blood vessels were also seen growing on the cells of the implants.”

How the device will work 

  • The device will be injected into the patient with a keyhole surgery 
  • Islet cells, which produce insulin, will be dropped inside the tube 
  • Researchers say the tube allows the cells to grow  
  • The insulin, which the cells will produce, will come out through the walls. But, the cells cannot. This will prevent the immune cells from rejecting the foreign bodies
  • Control on blood-sugar was also established in the mice, which had the device implanted. 

Bellare added, “Longer-duration studies in small animals and extensive studies in larger animals are needed before the human trials are considered.”