April 24, 2013

Dipped Cells for T1D

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dipping=cells“Cells in a Box” sounds like something you’d see at the circus. However this is a legitimate biotech company with a concept to protect, isolate, store, and transport living cells.

Cell-in-a-Box are cells that are mixed together with a polymer, which is then shaped into a micro bead. The beads are then dipped into another polymer that forms a stable, robust shell around the bead.

After the double-dipping process, the size of a Cell-in-a-Box capsules is about 1mm. The islet cell is about the size of a grain of salt.

The Cell-in-a-Box capsule material doesn’t cause any immune reaction or inflammation response. The pores are too small for an immune cell to get inside, and even too small to allow antibodies significant access.

Most importantly, is the fact that the encapsulated cells do not lose their ability to biologically respond to their environment  For example, when an insulin-producing cell registers glucose that needs insulin, insulin can readily be secreted.

Unlike chocolate-dipped strawberries, the coated sustenance of Cells-in-a-Box have a porous exterior that allows nutrients and oxygen to pass into and out of the capsules. This is the type of polymer encapsulation that allows insulin-producing  cells to survive.

Because all “foreign bodies” need to be kept under close watch, there is always a safety net in place with the Cells-in-a-Box. If need be, the Cells-in-a-Box can be removed. Also, by being enclosed in a capsule, cells cannot form tumors.

We’re on the right track with size, immune protection, functionality, and safety with Cells-in-a-Box. Now let’s address the cell sourcing issue and we’re in business.

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