Diabetes mellitus, the third most common disease in the world, is a chronic metabolic disorder caused by a failure of insulin production and/or an inability to respond to insulin. Specifically, type 1 diabetes is a disease resulted by the autoimmune destruction of a patient's β-cell population within the pancreatic islets of Langerhans. The current primary treatment for type 1 diabetes is daily multiple insulin injections. However, this treatment cannot provide sustained physiological release, and the insulin amount is not finely tuned to glycemia. Pancreatic transplants or islet transplants would be the preferred treatment method but the lack of donor tissue and immunoincompatibility has been shown to be a roadblock to their widespread use. Bioengineering strategies are poised to combat these challenges. In this review, bioengineering approaches for the treatment of type 1 diabetes, including insulin controlled release systems, strategies for immunoisolation of transplanted islets, and cell-based therapies, such as β-cells and stem cells, are discussed.
- Type 1 Diabetes