Cell Encapsulation and Delivery

Cell encapsulation is a promising platform to overcome transplant graft rejection. Here, cells are surrounded with a semipermeable membrane, permitting the entry of nutrients and the release of therapeutic protein products, thus obtaining a sustained delivery of an active pharmaceutical molecule. The membrane serves to isolate the enclosed cells from the host immune system, preventing the recognition of the transplanted cells as foreign. Such a cell encapsulation device would allow for transplantation of insulin-producing beta cells, helping to treat type 1 diabetes.


Cell clusters can be encapsulated in larger immunoisolation devices. The nanoporous membranes of the devices allow passage of molecules critical to the health of both the patient (e.g. insulin) and the cells (e.g. oxygen, glucose) while blocking the passage of immunoglobulins that would attack the encapsulated cells.


Shown here by confocal fluorescence microscopy, insulin-producing beta cells can be engineered to form clusters approximately 100 microns wide.

nanotubes at 200 nm

Titanium nanotubes are one potential solution in creating nanoporous membranes to immunoisolate encapsulated cells.

In collaboration with the Tang Lab.