Advances in Islet Transplantation as a Treatment for Diabetes 🗓

— Current approaches and development of stem cells for transplantation.

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EMBS Chapter, IEEE Orange County Section
Meeting Date: October 17, 2018
Time: 6:30 PM Networking & Food; 7:00 PM Presentation
Speaker: Jonathan RT Lakey PhD, MSM, Professor of Surgery and Biomedical Engineering, UC Irvine
Location: Irvine
Cost: none
RSVP: requested, through website
Event Details: Eventbrite

Summary: Diabetes is the 4th leading cause of death in the United States. At present there is no cure for diabetes and the principal treatment is the delivery of artificial insulin guided by careful monitoring of blood glucose levels using blood-testing monitors. Despite best efforts at maintaining good blood glucose control, the health of many diabetics deteriorate in terms of advances in the secondary complications of diabetes including retinopathy, neuropathy and nephrology.

Transplantation of functional derived islet tissue, isolated from cadaveric organ donors, by the “Edmonton Protocol” restores euglycemia by replacing islet tissue lost to autoimmune destruction, at the expense of lifelong pharmaceutical immune suppression. These drugs have known side effects, including elevated risk of infections, lymphoma and other cancers, making the Edmonton protocol appropriate only for those diabetics with advanced life-threatening secondary complications.

Encapsulation of islets by biomaterials including alginate, derived from seaweed is viewed as the best approach to extending the Edmonton protocol to more type 1 diabetics since it would not require lifelong pharmaceutical immune suppression. The lecture will discuss current approaches in biomaterial research for protecting pancreatic islets.

The other significant issue facing islet transplantation is the source of insulin secreting cells. Advances in stem cell research have progressed so that there are recently developed protocols to convert stem cells into insulin producing cells. These stem cell derived islets could represent a significant source of cells for transplantation, however there are risks with stem cells including consistency in cell expansion protocols and the potential of differentiating into cancer or other type cells. It is key that any stem cells derived product is retrievable and is protected from immune response in an effective and carefully constructed biomaterial device. The second portion of the lecture will discuss current approaches and development of stem cells for transplantation.

Advances in both biomaterials for implantation and identifying a safe and consistent source of insulin producing cells represent key steps in islet transplantation technologies to advance our goal of finding a cure for diabetes.

Bio: Dr. Jonathan Lakey has had a long interest and research direction in cell and tissue transplantation with a focus on diabetes and islet transplantation. Dr. Lakey graduated from the University of Alberta (BSc, MSc, PhD) and received post post-doctoral training in Indianapolis and Seattle before returning to establish his research program at the University of Alberta. Dr. Lakey was also the Director of the Comprehensive Tissue Bank. He served as the Chief Scientific Officer and President for MicroIslet Inc, a public diabetes biotechnology company focused on Islet Xenotransplantation. Dr. Lakey is now the Director of Research and Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of California, Irvine. Dr. Lakey is now Director of the Clinical Islet Program at the University of California, Irvine, conducting the development of both the auto and allo islet transplant program. His contributions and partnership with Dr. James Shapiro led towards the improvement of islet isolation techniques and the development of the “Edmonton Protocol” for patients with Type 1 diabetes, a recognized major advancement in the treatment of diabetes. He has been awarded research grants and awards for diabetes and transplantation research from the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR), Canadian Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International (JDFI). Dr. Lakey values the mentoring of MSc and PhD students in his research laboratory and supported training of technicians from several research and islet laboratories worldwide. He also sits on the Scientific Advisory Board for several diabetes biotechnology companies including NorMedex, Kent and DiaKine Inc., which has resulted in several industry supported research grants. Dr. Lakey has sat on several key regulatory boards establishing the safety standards for cell and tissue transplantation in Canada. Dr Lakey sits on the Biomedical Research Committee Advisory Board for One Legacy.