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Biotech Solution

Type 1 Diabetes
By Franny, Shasta, Ethan, and Emily

Type

Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the


pancreas cannot produce insulin in order to maintain the
body's blood sugar levels and provide cells with glucose.
The bodys immune system attacks the beta cells in the
pancreas which produce this insulin.Type 1 diabetes affects
over 200,000 people each year and typically appears in
adolescents. This disease lasts for life and there is currently
no cure.

Our

Problem

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease so even if you could generate


beta-cells or an entire pancreas that was an identical match to the person
with type 1 diabetes, their immune system cells would just go on to destroy
the new insulin producing beta-cells as they did the old ones. It is actually a
much harder problem than just standard organ transplantation, as you need
to both address the autoimmunity and replace the beta-cells. So if you want
to come up with a cure you are going to need a dual prong approach or
intervene before so much beta-cell mass is lost that high blood sugars
(clinical diabetes) develops.
- Jason Gaglia, MD, MMSc (Our
mentor)

Previously
Solutions

Attempted

Currently there is no permanent cure for diabetes. To


counteract the effects of type 1 diabetes the patient receives
insulin through injection. This process is done up to 4 times a
day in order to counteract the effects. The insulin is produced
in bacteria, the bacteria is injected with DNA ordering the
cell to produce insulin. The insulin can then be collected from
the bacteria and administered to the patient.

Current

Limitations

Currently people have tried to add new beta cells to the pancreas by a
donor donating these cells. One of the problems with this is that the
bodys immune system will again attack these new beta cells rendering
them useless within a year. Possible solutions have been to create a
shield around the cells that has holes in it. These holes are small enough
to let blood cells and insulin pass through but not T cells of the immune
system.

Proposed

Solutions

Our proposed solution is to create new beta cells in the patient. Using stem cells
we could grow new beta cells in a lab and transplant them into the patient. The
Beta cells could be placed into the patient's pancreas where there are no more
beta cells. Then to protect the beta cells from the immune system we could
attach a barrier onto the pancreas to protect the cells. This barrier will let insulin
out but will top the immune cells from attacking. Companies are already trying to
create this.

Production
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Developing and creating our surgery (research, understanding how it works)


[3-6 years]
Deciding on what materials to use in our product [0.5-2 years]
Testing on 3D printed organs or animals (Clinical trials) [3-7 years]
Approval of solution and official release to the public [0.5-2 years]
Producing new beta cells to ship to doctors offices [0.5 years]
Doctor diagnosed Type 1 Diabetes and gives medical advice to get this
surgery
Continue to monitor patients and revise if problems arise

Characterization
Our solution can be mostly recognized as a surgery because it involves (an)
incision(s) where beta cells will be replaced and a semi-permeable membrane
will be added. We can confirm that the new beta cells are real by either
extracting these cells from already existing stem cells from infants or from the
patients (or a donors) bones.

Testing
Since our solution involves surgery, we would have to test on
animals (like mice) and do surgery on them before applying it to
humans. The beta cells need to be injected onto the islet tissue of
the pancreas. In the near future, testing on 3D printed organs or
creating cloned organs to test medicines and surgery on would be
another way to see if our solution would work in the correct way.

Our

Virtual

Mentor

Jason Gaglia, MD, MMSc (Master of Medical Sciences)


Joslin Diabetes Center
He was very nice and readily able to answer any questions we asked.
Endocrinologists are specially trained physicians who diagnose diseases related
to the glands. The diseases they are trained to treat often affect other parts of the
body beyond glands. While primary care doctors know a lot about the human
body, for diseases and conditions directly related to glands they will usually send
a patient to an endocrinologist.

Citations
http://www.joslin.org/
http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/type-1/?referrer=https://www.google.
com/
http://www.hormone.org/contact-a-health-professional/what-is-anendocrinologist