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Oxygen permeable microwell device maintains islet mass and integrity during shipping.

ABSTRACT

Islet transplantation is currently the only minimally-invasive therapy available for patients with type 1 diabetes that can lead to insulin-independence, however it is limited to only a small number of patients. Although clinical procedures have improved in the isolation and culture of islets, a large number of islets are still lost in the pre-transplant period, limiting the success of this treatment. Moreover, current practice includes islets being prepared at specialised centers, which are sometimes remote to the transplant location. Thus, a critical point of intervention to maintain the quality and quantity of isolated islets is during transportation between isolation centers and the transplanting hospitals, during which 20-40% of functional islets can be lost. The current study investigated the use of an oxygen-permeable PDMS microwell device for long distance transportation of isolated islets. We demonstrate that the microwell device protected islets from aggregation during transport, maintaining viability and average islet size during shipping.