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'3D printing' used to test a 'cure' for type-1 diabetes

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Researchers are one step closer to reducing the effects of type-1 diabetes after developing a way to implant insulin-generating cells into the pancreas. According to publisher IOP, this method was previously unsuccessful, but has begun to work now that scientists can "3D-print" a structure to protect the cells. Previous attempts to implant these cells, called islets of Langerhans, have been unsuccessful because the body's immune system would attack them as soon as they were injected.

This time around, however, the team embedded the cells into a three-dimensional structure made from a mixture of alginate and gelatin. Another problem, however, was developing a scaffold that could both hold the islets in place and keep them protected while letting blood and insulin pass through. Right now, the project is just some grim-looking petri dishes at the University of Twente, but if the process can be refined, then type-1 diabetics may never again have to suffer the effects of an attack of hypoglycemia.

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