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Nanotechnology Approaches To Modulate Immune Responses To Cell-based Therapies For Type 1 Diabetes

Sydney C. Wiggins, Nicholas J. Abuid, Kerim M. Gattás-Asfura, Saumadritaa Kar, Cherie L. Stabler

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Islet transplantation is a promising curative treatment option for type 1 diabetes (T1D) as it can provide physiological blood glucose control. The widespread utilization of islet transplantation is limited due to systemic immunosuppression requirements, persisting graft immunodestruction, and poor islet engraftment. Traditional macro- and micropolymeric encapsulation strategies can alleviate the need for antirejection immunosuppression, yet the increased graft volume and diffusional distances imparted by these coatings can be detrimental to graft viability and glucose control. Additionally, systemic administration of pro-engraftment and antirejection therapeutics leaves patients vulnerable to adverse off-target side effects. Nanoscale engineering techniques can be used to immunocamouflage islets, modulate the transplant microenvironment, and provide localized pro-engraftment cues. In this review, we discuss the applications of nanotechnology to advance the clinical potential of islet transplantation, with a focus on cell surface engineering, bioactive functionalization, and use of nanoparticles in T1D cell-based treatments.