Safeguarding the delivery of pancreatic islets for the treatment of diabetes
DRIVE aims to improve pancreatic islet transplant therapy for diabetes mellitus, a chronic disease characterised by high blood sugar due to a shortage of insulin. Transplant of insulin-producing pancreatic islets purified from donor pancreases can restore tight natural control of blood sugar and eliminate the need for multiple daily injections of insulin, thereby improving patient’s quality of life.
However, despite its proven effectiveness among current treatments for type 1 diabetes, this therapy suffers from poor survival and engraftment of transplanted islets and risks associated with the lifelong immune suppression medication that islet transplant recipients must take.
These factors limit the use of this therapy to a small percentage of “brittle” type 1 diabetes patients for whom daily insulin injections are not sufficient to control their diabetes.
The DRIVE project aims to develop technologies to dramatically improve the survival and engraftment rate of transplanted islets and forego the need for lifelong immune suppression. DRIVE’s vision is to widen the application of islet transplant therapy to more insulin-dependent diabetes patients (T1D and T2D).