Undergraduate students at Johns Hopkins University working with doctors and engineers invented a novel medical device for the administration of cell therapy in the treatment of diabetes and possibly other diseases.
The device is the result of the students addressing the challenge to devise a way to keep microcapsules in one place in the body where their contents could thrive and deliver effective therapy.
After a year of researching the topic, testing biomaterials, and constructing the prototype designed to fit inside the portal vein (the large blood vessel, about the diameter of an index finger, which carries blood from the digestive system into the liver), the current model was born. The cell therapy pouch is formed by two concentric stents, similar to the ones used to keep clogged blood vessels open. A band of nylon mesh surrounds the inner stent and holds the microcapsules containing helpful cells. A picture of the device from Johns Hopkins recent news release is shown.
The Johns Hopkins Technology Transfer staff has applied for a provisional patent. Animal testing is expected to begin this summer, and if successful, human trials would follow.
Illustration: Will Kirk, Johns Hopkins.
Headlines @ Hopkins (05/07/07)
Science Daily-1 (05/08/07)
Science Daily-2 (05/08/07)
Medical News Today (05/12/07)