Transplants of insulin-producing tissue, called islets, have helped some people with type I diabetes control their blood sugar and get healthier. But there's a critical shortage of transplantable islets, which are clumps of pancreatic tissue containing insulin-producing beta cells.
Now researchers have developed a new laboratory method of growing islets that produce more beta cells, potentially allowing physicians to spread transplantable cells among more patients. Islets are obtained from a cadaver and then usually cultured in the lab before being given to a patient with diabetes.
Unlike islets grown in a liquid culture, those grown in a matrix made of the two proteins fibrinogen and thro