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From the United Kingdom:

My 5 year old daughter was diagnosed over 2 years ago. Last week I was shown an article from a national newspaper regarding the 'once a year injection' using a number of insulin producing ceramic beads which are 0.6mm in diameter. Glucose & insulin pass freely through the ceramic shell. The research was from California and from memory the leader of the research was Dr Pope. I note from one of your Question/Answers that the FDA does not allow a product which would be 'left in the body' after its useful life. Nevertheless my long search on the net has not lead me to find more info on this recent research and I would be keen to find out more.


This question was referred to several members of the Diabetes Team, who have each given an answer:

Answer from Dr. Lebinger:

There recently have been reports in the media about two different research projects which are trying to give encapsulated insulin in two different ways.

One was a report of the work of Dr. Edith Mathiowitz from Brown University, who is trying to encapsulate insulin so that it can be taken orally and not broken down by digestion in the stomach.

Another report was about the work of Dr. Pope at Matech Biomedical Technologies. Dr. Pope is trying to encapsulate fetal islet cells from pigs in ceramic. The islet cells make insulin. The ceramic coating allows glucose to enter the islet cells and stimulate insulin release, but keeps out antibodies which destroy the islet cells. The transplanted cells last 3 months and have to be periodically replaced with new encapsulated islet cells.


Answer from Dr. Robertson:

There was obviously some sort of World Wide interest in this story, e.g., via Reuters, because it appeared in our tabloid press here. Using the information in the article I tracked down Dr. Pope and the company on the Internet [see above]. So far as I could see, all the work so far has been done on rats and mice and is no further forward than anyone else in terms of human work. I actually used the article in a talk I gave recently to a parents' group because they, of course, latch on to anything like this that they read.


Original posting 10 Apr 97


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:54
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