It seems researchers have finally found a way to use 3D printing for treating Type 1 diabetes. According to scientists, bioplotting (a 3D printing technique) can prove to be effective against patient suffering from severe hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) situation.
Researchers have successfully created clusters of specialised cells that are responsible for generation of insulin and glucagon in the pancreas and 3D printed it into a scaffold. Scientists believe that these scaffolds could be transplanted into patients with Type 1 diabetes.
‘Our results showed that once the islet cells were retrieved from the 3D scaffolds in the lab, they were able to produce insulin and respond to glucose in the same way as non-printed islet cells,’ said van Apeldoorn from the University of Twente in the Netherlands and co-author of the study. Islet cells, also called Islets of Langerhans, are clusters of pancreatic cells that release insulin to maintain normal levels by sensing blood sugar levels.
For the study, researchers tried to create bio-engineered scaffolds to increase the success of islet transplantation which ultimately helped in transplanting islet cells into patients. This mechanism ensured that cells are protected and fully functioning when transplanted at the donor site. Also, scaffolds made sure that islet cells would stick to their place and would not migrate uncontrollably once transplanted into the donor site.
With diabetes comes the fear of several other diseases. Also, number of people suffering diabetes are increasing exponentially. Thus, the study gives new hope to those suffering from the sweet disease live a normal disease free life once again.
The study was published in the journal Biofabrication.