G. Magnetocapsule containing encapsulated mouse pancreatic islet cells. (Copyright Nature Medicine, 2007.)
The national media recently featured stories about the research of Johns Hopkins University and Institute of NanoBioTechnology affiliated faculty members Jeff Bulte and Dara Kraitchman and other colleagues. The news was based on a technical report in Nature Medicine explaining how magnetocapsules—tiny capsules about 350Î¼m in diameter made from a matrix of seaweed extract and iron—could help prevent the rejection of insulin-cell (islet) transplants in diabetics.
The semi-permeable magnetocapsules have pores large enough to allow the insulin to pass through but small enough to prevent antibodies directed against Î²-cells from the pancreas from entering and attacking. Magnetic resonance imaging was used to track delivery and engraftment.