Intraportal islet transplantation has emerged as a promising treatment for type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). Nevertheless, long-term efficacy has been limited to a marginal number of patients. Outcomes have been restricted, in part, by challenges associated with the transplant site, poor vascularization, and disruption of the native islet architecture during the isolation process. Engineering a biomaterial platform that recapitulates critical components of the pancreatic environment can serve to address these hurdles. This review highlights the challenges and opportunities in engineering 3D niches for islets, specifically: the importance of site selection; the application of scaffold functionalization to present bioactive motifs; and the development of technologies for enhancing implant nutritional profiles. The potential of these novel approaches to improve islet engraftment and duration of function is discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering