Islet cell transplantation is the most potent therapy for patients with type 1 diabetes. However, there are two major problems besetting this process. First, there are not enough islets available for transplant. Second, islets after transplantation are often undergoing apoptosis due to the stresses encountered during islet harvest and after transplantation. The ongoing projects in the Islet Cell Transplantation lab led by Dr. Hongjun Wang are focused on solving these problems.
The areas of investigation in the Wang lab include:
Generation of insulin-secreting cells from adipose stem cells to expand the source of transplanted islets
Mechanisms that lead to islet death after allogeneic and autologous islet transplantation
Interventional approaches that can protect islets from apoptosis and immune rejection by induction of protective genes or encapsulating islets with nanoparticles
the role of HO-1 in obesity and insulin resistance
a translational approach that can prevent the onset of surgical diabetes after total pancreatectomy and islet autotransplantation for patients with chronic pancreatitis.