Chronic disorders such as diabetes mellitus are associated with multiple organ dysfunction, including retinopathy, neuropathy, nephropathy, peripheral vascular disease, and vascular disease. Lifelong subcutaneous insulin injections are currently the only treatment option for patients with Type 1 diabetes mellitus, and it poses numerous challenges. Since the breakthrough achieved from the Edmonton protocol in the year 2000, there has been important research to investigate whether islet cell transplantation can achieve long-term normoglycemia in patients without the need for insulin. The use of biopolymeric scaffold to enclose islet cells has also been explored to improve survivability and viability of islet cells. This review paper summarizes the latest research in using biopolymeric scaffolds in islet transplantation and how microfluidic devices can assist.
Plain language summaryIn this article we have highlighted several emerging biotechnologies and methodologies for the treatment of diabetes. We describe how cell transplant presents one viable method for diabetes treatment. Through this we outline several of the challenges associated with this technique as well as how new methods are being explored. Furthermore, we highlight how new devices are allowing for enhanced treatment screening for diabetes.