Panagenesi Project

Optimization of pancreatic islets transplantation through fibroin scaffold


Immagini dal progetto

Macchinario Comez

The project

PANAGENESI is a project funded by Regione Lombardia in the V Meta-distretti framework programme, with the involvement of three Italian textile companies and a research center, supported by a hospital and an American research center (see partners).

Nowadays, pancreatic islets transplantation is one of the most effective treatments for diabetes mellitus type I. The interest aroused by this procedure in the scientific world derives from the actual clinical success achieved and the interesting prospects.
However, there are still some issues to be faced, such as the need for immunosuppressive therapy to avoid rejection, the limited duration of the graft benefits, the inadequate engraftment of the transplanted islets, this requiring more pancreas to process in order to obtain a sufficient number of islets for a single patient.
Improving the engraftment of the islets is now an important research area, with proposed strategies which include the identification of an alternative site for the transplantation and the use of molecules reducing the inflammatory reaction in the implant site.
Fibroin, a protein extracted from silk, has been extensively studied in tissue engineering for biomedical applications due to its biocompatibility, slow degradability and mechanical properties. Thanks to recent studies, fibroin can be modeled in various formats and shapes (films, fibers, nets, meshes, membranes, threads, and sponges) resulting into a remarkable “scaffold” for different kinds of cells support and adhesion, promoting in vivo tissue repair. Finally, thanks to its molecular surface and is highly biocompatible and its system is characterized by a reduced inflammatory component.

PANAGENESI is meant to provide valuable answers to the transplantation needs, by optimizing engraftment of the islets at the site of transplantation through the use of fibroin. This could lead to a reduction in the number of islets needed for successful transplantation and a prolongation of their function over time.

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