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Pancreatic islet transplantation is a promising cell therapy for treatment of type 1 diabetes. However, there are numerous limitations that prevent its wider use for individuals with diabetes, in particular the low survival rate of transplanted islets.
We develop 3D printing platforms for co-printing of islets with immune-suppressive regulatory T-cells and proangiogenic endothelial progenitor cells, to provide immune protection for islets and to form blood vessels around islets to support their survival and function, respectively.
Biofabrication Masters and PhD students, researchers, engineers and materials scientists across the University of Wollongong and The University of Adelaide.
Recently we have developed a 3D PICT (Printer for Islet Cell Transplantation), which is equipped with a co-axial nozzle and two bioink chambers allowing for co-printing of islets with supporting cells. Moreover, we have developed an alginate/gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA) bioink and cytocompatible crosslinking protocol for the 3D PICT system. Well-defined cellular constructs are successfully printed, and the viability of islets, regulatory T-cells and proangiogenic endothelial progenitor cells are well preserved during the printing and crosslinking process.
Moving forward, we are working on optimisation of bioink formulation and co-axial printing protocols to improve the survival and function of 3D printed islet-containing structures. Ultimately, this will provide critical information to enable better cell therapy for patients with type 1 diabetes.