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Engineering microcapsules for stem cell cultivation and transplantation

Research Grant Recipient: Alexander Revzin, PhD

Award Value: $249,998

Research Focus: Diabetes

Project Summary: The goal of this project is to develop microcapsules that could be used as cell carriers during differentiation of stem cells into pancreatic islets. These same capsules may also be useful as vehicles for islet transplantation. Developing this technology will enable better scale-up of islet production from stem cells, may result in cost reduction, and may also alleviate problems associated with immune rejection of transplanted islets.

Year 1 Progress Report:

Diabetes is a serious illness that affects thousands of Minnesotans. In type I diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks the beta cells, the cells that produce insulin. Transplanted beta cells, that could help produce insulin, are also attacked. Dr. Revzin is working to develop a way to encapsulate stem cell-derived beta cells in hydrogel so that they can produce insulin for the body while being protected from the immune system. So far, Dr. Revizin’s laboratory has shown that encapsulating the stem cells did not hurt the cells and that—importantly—these cells could be differentiated into beta cells while encapsulated. He is currently testing how these cells survive when transplanted into mice and ways to improve the overall process.

Dr. Revzin is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Mayo Clinic. He is an associate editor for Microsystems & Nanoengineering (a Nature Group Journal) and a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Alexander Revzin, PhD