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Polymeric nano-shielded islets with heparin-polyethylene glycol in a non-human primate model


Intraportal pancreatic islet transplantation incurs huge cell losses during its early stages due to instant blood-mediated inflammatory reactions (IBMIRs), which may also drive regulation of the adaptive immune system. Therefore, a method that evades IBMIR will improve clinical islet transplantation. We used a layer-by-layer approach to shield non-human primate (NHP) islets with polyethylene glycol (nanoshielded islets, NSIs) and polyethylene glycol plus heparin (heparin nano-shielded islets; HNSIs). Islets ranging from 10,000 to 20,000 IEQ/kg body weight were transplanted into 19 cynomolgus monkeys (n ¼ 4, control; n ¼ 5, NSI; and n ¼ 10, HNSI). The mean C-peptide positive graft survival times were 68.5, 64 and 108 days for the control, NSI and HNSI groups, respectively (P ¼ 0.012). HNSI also reduced the factors responsible for IBMIR in vitro. Based on these data, HNSIs in conjunction with clinically established immunosuppressive drug regimens will result in superior outcomes compared to those achieved with the current protocol for clinical islet transplantation.