The DRIVE technology in a nutshell

In order to improve pancreatic islet transplant therapy for diabetes mellitus DRIVE will develop a suite of functional biomaterials (β-Gel) for long term clinical efficacy of transplanted pancreatic islets. The project will also facilitate minimally invasive delivery of β-Gel inside a protective capsule (β-Shell) using a specialised delivery catheter (β-Cath).


DRIVE will deliver islets in a protected fashion to a body site outside the liver. The omentum is a layer of peritoneum surrounding abdominal organs that is highly vascularised and easily accessed surgically, resulting in a more favourable site for engraftment. The omentum also has the advantage of sharing the same blood supply and drainage characteristics of the pancreas, which should facilitate natural glucose sensing and insulin response for omentally-transplanted islets.

  • β-Gel

    β-Gel is a pancreo-mimetic gel that contains native pancreatic proteins and oxygen producing compounds thus providing a suitable support matrix to the islets and supplying them with oxygen over the first week while they are most vulnerable.

    An extended residence time in the β-Gel will benefit islet cohesion and protection while inclusion of gel-integrated pancreo-mimetic ECM molecules will promote long term islet integration and viability.

  • β-Shell

    β-Shell  will be a protective and retentive capsule for the protection of islets from immune destruction. β-Shell will contain efficacy cues with controlled release to enhance long term therapeutic potential and glucose responsiveness of the transplanted islets.

  • β-Cath

    β-Cath is a minimally invasive delivery system based on a small injection catheter for the delivery of pancreatic islets.

  • O-Fold

    The O-Fold  procedure will be used to surgically create an omental fold and at the same time deliver β-Shell. The O-Fold will facilitate a good vascular supply to the islet graft, enabling an appropriate insulin response to blood glucose levels.

     This project has received funding from the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Grant agreement No 645991