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Foundational Methods for High-throughput Pancreatic Islet Cryopreservation

Research Grant Recipient: Erik Finger, MD, PhD

Award Value: $249,994

Research Focus: Diabetes

From the Investigator:

One potential cure for diabetes is the transplantation of pancreatic islets—insulin secreting clusters of cells that reside within the pancreas. However, many transplants fail because of insufficient quantities of donor islets. One strategy to overcome this limitation is the ability to store or “bank” islets at extremely low temperatures (-140°C) and then rewarm them at the time they are needed for transplant. We have developed a new approach to bank them in a vitrified, or glass-like, state as droplets that avoids dangerous ice crystal formation during freezing. We accomplish this objective by 3D printing vitrified islets into droplets that are mixed with gold nanoparticles and then rewarming them using laser pulses for ultra-rapid heating in a new process that is foundational for high-throughput automation called laser nanowarming.