Recent Advances in Cell Replacement Therapies for the Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes

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Exogenous insulin administration is currently the only treatment available to all type 1 diabetes patients, but it is not a cure. By helping to regulate circulating blood glucose levels, it has significantly improved life expectancy, but there are still long-term complications associated with the disease that may be preventable with a treatment strategy that can provide better glycemic control. Isolated islet (or whole pancreas) transplantation, xenotransplantation, and the transplant of human pluripotent stem cell-derived β-cells provide the potential to restore endogenous insulin production and reestablish normoglycemia. Here, we discuss the latest advances in these fields, including the use of encapsulation technology, as well as some of the hurdles that still need to be overcome for these alternative therapies to become mainstream and/or progress to clinical development.

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