Bioengineering the endocrine pancreas: Intraomental islet transplantation within a biologic resorbable scaffold

Dora M. Berman, R. Damaris Molano, Carmen Fotino, Ulisse Ulissi, Jennifer Gimeno, Armando J. Mendez, Norman M. Kenyon, Norma S. Kenyon, David M. Andrews, Camillo Ricordi, Antonello Pileggi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Transplantation of pancreatic islets is a therapeutic option to preserve or restore β-cell function. Our study was aimed at developing a clinically applicable protocol for extrahepatic transplantation of pancreatic islets. The potency of islets implanted onto the omentum, using an in situ-generated adherent, resorbable plasma-thrombin biologic scaffold, was evaluated in diabetic rat and nonhuman primate (NHP) models. Intraomental islet engraftment in the biologic scaffold was confirmed by achievement of improved metabolic function and preservation of islet cytoarchitecture, with reconstitution of rich intrainsular vascular networks in both species. Long-term nonfasting normoglycemia and adequate glucose clearance (tolerance tests) were achieved in both intrahepatic and intraomental sites in rats. Intraomental graft recipients displayed lower levels of serum biomarkers of islet distress (e.g., acute serum insulin) and inflammation (e.g., leptin and a2-macroglobulin). Importantly, low-purity (30:70% endocrine:exocrine) syngeneic rat islet preparations displayed function equivalent to that of pure (>95% endocrine) preparations after intraomental biologic scaffold implantation. Moreover, the biologic scaffold sustained allogeneic islet engraftment in immunosuppressed recipients. Collectively, our feasibility/efficacy data, along with the simplicity of the procedure and the safety of the biologic scaffold components, represented sufficient preclinical testing to proceed to a pilot phase I/II clinical trial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1350-1361
Number of pages12
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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