Good news for people with Type-1 diabetes. Now, you can get rid of daily insulin injections with the help of seaweed capsules.
Scientists have developed a capsule for protecting insulin-producing pancreatic cells that could be used in pancreatic islet transplantation, an effective but experimental diabetes treatment.
The technique involves injecting clusters of insulin-producing cells from the pancreas to a recipient’s liver. After the operation the cells are kept frozen to protect them, but the freezing process can damage the cells because it produces sharp ice crystals.
Researchers from the Okinawa Institute of Technology and Science Graduate University suggest that a hydrogel capsule made with alginate, a natural polymer extracted from seaweed can help prevent damage of cells due to freezing.
The capsule’s structure contains non-freezable bound water that can protect the cells from ice damage. Moreover, the technique can lower the risk of the transplanted tissue being rejected by the host as the capsule membrane averts direct contact with the host’s cell, while permitting small molecules to pass through it.