AccScience Publishing / IJB / Volume 9 / Issue 6 / DOI: 10.36922/ijb.1024
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Advancements in biomaterials and biofabrication for enhancing islet transplantation

Dayoon Kang1 Jaewook Kim1 Jinah Jang1,2,3,4*
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1 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), Pohang 37673, South Korea
2 Department of Convergence IT Engineering, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), Pohang 37673, South Korea
3 School of Interdisciplinary Bioscience and Bioengineering, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), Pohang 37673, South Korea
4 Institute for Convergence Research and Education in Advanced Technology, Yonsei University, Seoul 03722, South Korea
Submitted: 31 May 2023 | Accepted: 14 July 2023 | Published: 25 August 2023
© 2023 by the Authors. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( )

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is characterized by the degeneration of insulin-producing beta cells within pancreatic islets, resulting in impaired endogenous insulin synthesis, which necessitates exogenous insulin therapy. Although intensive insulin therapy has been effective in many patients, a subset of individuals with unstable T1D encounter challenges in maintaining optimal glycemic control through insulin injections. Pancreatic islet transplantation has emerged as a promising therapeutic alternative for such patients, offering enhanced glucose regulation, reduced risk of complications, and liberation from exogenous insulin reliance. However, impediments such as immune rejection and the need for an optimal transplantation environment limit the success of islet transplantation. Revascularization, a crucial requirement for proper islet functionality, poses a challenge in transplantation settings. Biomaterial-based biofabrication approaches have attracted considerable attention to address these challenges. Biomaterials engineered to emulate the native extracellular matrix provide a supportive environment for islet viability and functionality. This review article presents the recent advancements in biomaterials and biofabrication technologies aimed at engineering cell delivery systems to enhance the efficacy of islet transplantation. Immune protection and vascularization strategies are discussed, key biomaterials employed in islet transplantation are highlighted, and various biofabrication techniques, including electrospinning, microfabrication, and bioprinting, are explored. Furthermore, the future directions and challenges in the field of cell delivery systems for islet transplantation are discussed. The integration of appropriate biomaterials and biofabrication methods has significant potential to promote successful islet transplantation by facilitating vascularization and bolstering the immune defense mechanisms.

Islet transplantation
This work was funded by the National Research Foundation of South Korea (NRF) grant from the Ministry of Science and ICT (No. 2021R1A2C2004981) and supported by the Korean Fund for Regenerative Medicine funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT and Ministry of Health and Welfare (21A0104L1, Republic of Korea), as well as the Alchemist Project 1415180884 (20012378, Development of Meta Soft Organ Module Manufacturing Technology without Immunity Rejection and Module Assembly Robot System) funded by the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy (MOTIE, Republic of Korea).
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interests.
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International Journal of Bioprinting, Electronic ISSN: 2424-8002 Print ISSN: 2424-7723, Published by AccScience Publishing