A ‘Mini-Organ’ Delivering Real Insulin in Real Time – BioHub

The DRI BioHub is a bioengineered “mini organ” that mimics the native pancreas. It contains real insulin-producing cells that can sense blood sugar and release the precise amount of insulin needed — in real time.

To the millions living with diabetes, the DRI BioHub brings the promise of natural insulin production and normal blood sugar levels one step closer to reality.
In type 1 diabetes, the immune system mistakenly destroys insulin-producing “islet” cells in the pancreas. The DRI’s focus is to develop a biological cure by replacing those cells.

In clinical trials, our scientists have transplanted islet cells from donor organs into patients with long-standing type 1 diabetes. As a result, recipients achieve insulin independence. Some patients continue to be insulin free for more than a decade after the transplant.

However, islet transplantation has been limited to only the most severe cases of diabetes. Several challenges must be overcome before this strategy can be offered to all who can benefit.


The existing hurdles include:

Supply – the need for more insulin-producing cells for transplant
Sustainability – the need for the recipient to accept the cells long-term, without the need for anti-rejection drugs
Site – the identification of an optimal site within the body to house the new cells
Addressing the challenges
The BioHub platform addresses these challenges by drawing on recent developments in bioengineering, immunology, and decades of transplantation expertise.

Prior to their destruction by the immune system in type 1 diabetes, healthy islets thrive inside the pancreas, where they have sufficient oxygen, adequate space, and all the nutrients needed to perform the demanding job of normalizing blood sugar levels.

The BioHub attempts to closely replicate the cells’ natural environment and allows scientists to fine tune these cellular needs within the transplant site as never before.

DRI scientists are currently testing a “biodegradable scaffold” as a platform for a DRI BioHub.

Enhancing the environment
In addition to housing transplanted insulin-producing cells, a BioHub will also allow scientists to enhance the immediate transplant environment with additional oxygen, specific types of “helper” cells or other agents to promote the cells’ long-term survival and function.

Additionally, a BioHub platform can be used to house not just islets, but any future insulin-producing cell type that scientists create.

 

Dr. Oscar Uribe

OCC Health Care

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OCC’s epidemiologist is closely monitoring the COVID-19 status and is actively issuing updates as they are available. The Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization are the most trusted sources online.  While the CDC has announced new mask protocols for vaccinated individuals, there will be no changes for our office protocols for patients, guests, and staff members as the announcement does not apply to hospitals or medical facilities. Masks are still a requirement for all patients, guests and staff at our facility.

As we reinitiate weight loss surgery, we are constantly adapting and installing new and updated safety measures.

Weight loss surgery is medically necessary.

Bariatric Surgery and the clash of two pandemics.   

Major metabolic and bariatric surgery Societies and colleges globally are now calling for the safe resumption of bariatric and metabolic surgery before the COVID-19 pandemic is declared over. 

The sooner bariatric surgery can be safely performed, the quicker obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases can be reduced or resolved as they are not only chronic they are also progressive.  Obesity is also linked to more than 40 diseases including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and at least 13 different types of cancer.

A recent statement from the ASMBS says “Before COVID-19 began, it was clear that patients with obesity were ‘safer through surgery.’ In the era of COVID-19, ‘safer through surgery’ for patients with obesity may prove to be even more important than before.” Obesity and Metabolic syndrome have been identified as an independent risk factor for adverse outcomes including death among COVID-19 patients.

See here for full COVID-19 update. 

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