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7 Dec, 2023
1 min time to read

Researchers have unveiled a revolutionary implantable device called SHEATH (Subcutaneous Host-Enabled Alginate Thread) that could change the way type 1 diabetes is treated.

The thread implant is inserted in two steps using nylon catheters that are initially placed under the skin for up to six weeks. The thread-like implant is installed through a two-step process, utilizing nylon catheters initially placed under the skin for up to six weeks. Blood vessels naturally form around the catheters, providing structural support for subsequent deployment of "islet devices".

The SHEATH device, measuring 10 centimeters in length, secretes insulin through islet cells formed around it, receiving essential nutrients and oxygen from blood vessels to sustain functionality.

While SHEATH shows promising results, challenges remain in achieving long-term application due to potential blockage of blood vessels. Researchers, led by Ma, are actively exploring solutions to maximize nutrient and oxygen exchange in large-animal models and future patient applications.

This breakthrough could eventually replace the conventional Type 1 diabetes treatment, eliminating the need for daily injections or insulin pumps.