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J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2014 Jan;8(1):159-169. Epub 2014 Jan 1.

Extracellular Matrix Scaffold Technology for Bioartificial Pancreas Engineering: State of the Art and Future Challenges.

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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, Oxford, UK.
Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.
Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.
Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA


Emergent technologies in regenerative medicine may soon overcome the limitations of conventional diabetes therapies. Collaborative efforts across the subfields of stem cell technology, islet encapsulation, and biomaterial carriers seek to produce a bioengineered pancreas capable of restoring endocrine function in patients with insulin-dependent diabetes. These technologies rely on a robust understanding of the extracellular matrix (ECM), the supportive 3-dimensional network of proteins necessary for cellular attachment, proliferation, and differentiation. Although these functions can be partially approximated by biosynthetic carriers, novel decellularization protocols have allowed researchers to discover the advantages afforded by the native pancreatic ECM. The native ECM has proven to be an optimal platform for recellularization and whole-organ pancreas bioengineering, an exciting new field with the potential to resolve the dire shortage of transplantable organs. This review seeks to contextualize recent findings, discuss current research goals, and identify future challenges of regenerative medicine as it applies to diabetes management.


bioartificial pancreas; diabetes mellitus; extracellular matrix; insulin; regenerative medicine; stem cells

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