Engineering 3D pancreatic tissue in vitro
Diabetes mellitus is one of the most common metabolic diseases. Two main types of this disease have similar symptoms, but different causes. Type I is autoimmune diseases that results from destruction of pancreatic β-cells in pancreatic islets that secrete insulin. As a result, human organism loses its ability to maintain stable glucose blood concentration. Type II is mainly due to overweight and can be cured by healthier diet and physical exercises. In contrast, it is still challenging to cure Type I. The current clinical treatments aim to help patients to maintain normal blood glucose level. Usually it is achieved by injections of exogenous insulin (by syringes, pens or pumps) and in some cases by pancreas transplantation. Insulin injections do not allow the precise control of blood glucose level, leading to complications such as loss of vision, myocardial infraction and arterial occlusion in future. Pancreas transplantation is difficult surgery that requires long-term immunosuppression therapy that also can lead to severe side effects. In addition, the shortage of donors is a problem. Apart from these methods, possible way to cure Diabetes is islet transplantation. Islets can be received in different ways: reconstituted from human or mouse/rat pancreatic cells, made from iPS-derived β-cells (although for now it is hardly possible to receive fully differentiated β-cells) or stem cells. In my research, I would like to make artificial pancreatic islets from mouse pancreatic cells and finally I want to fabricate three-dimensional model of pancreatic tissue with vascular structure using cellulose hydrogel and pancreatic spheroids.