The PTFE is polytetrafluorethylene and it has been shown to help improve the survival of transplanted pancreatic precursor cells (in mice) so the cells can mature into functional beta cells that release insulin in response to rising glucose levels. PTFE encapsulation protects the cells from the immune system and may, someday, be part of a new approach to treating Type 1 diabetes.
“The results exceeded our expectations,” said Pamela Itkin-Ansari, Ph.D., assistant adjunct professor at the UC San Diego School of Medicine and Burnham. “We thought that T-cells, although unable to penetrate the device, would cluster around it. But we found no evidence of an active immune response, suggesting that the cells in the device were invisible to the immune system.”
Type 1 diabetes results when enough insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells are destroyed. Transplanting cells is an "easy fix" ..... until one realizes the body's immune system is not friendly to cells transplanted from another source.Immunosuppressionincreases the chance of survival of transplanted cells or organs, but the process of immunosuppression carries its own significant long-term health risks. Transplanting cells in a "protected environment", reducing the need for immunosuppression, is the key to success in transplantation.
The PTFE work may be a big step forward in transplant science. However, can it be more important to the "masses" than which book Oprah is reading or the daily goings-on ofthis ultra-talented daily newmaker?