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 β-Shell using a specialised delivery catheter (β-Cath).


DRIVE will deliver islets in a protected fashion to the omentum, 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. Furthermore, RCSI’s National Surgical Training Centre (NSTC) will be used to develop a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure to create an omental fold (the O-Fold procedure) using novel medical device technology from Boston Scientific. This procedure will serve to reduce patient trauma and recovery time, which will further enhance the clinical uptake of DRIVE’s technologies.

  • 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 in tissue environments while inclusion of gel-integrated pancreo-mimetic ECM molecules will promote long term islet integration and viability β-Gel will also contain agents to improve survival and functioning of the islet graft. This will enhance long term therapeutic potential and glucose responsiveness of the transplanted islets.”

  • β-Shell

    β-Shell will be a protective and retentive macroporous capsule for the tuneable localised delivery of the current standard of care immunosuppressive/anti-inflammatory drugs.

  • β-Cath

    β-Cath is a minimally invasive delivery system based on a small injection catheter.

  • O-Fold

    The O-Fold procedure will be used to surgically create an omental fold and at the same time deliver β-Shellusing a specialised injection catheter β-Cath. 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