Joey Lau Börjesson

Bioengineering strategies to create local protection of ß-cells after transplantation

My research has over the years been focused on β-cell physiology and β-cell replacement as therapy for type 1 diabetes. A main obstacle in β-cell replacement is immunological components hampering graft survival, where innate immune, autoimmune and allogeneic components all contribute. The research in our group is focused on creating a local protection from cellular death combined with induction of local tolerance. Thereby, the opportunity to exclude immunosuppressive drugs from β-cell replacement therapies may be achieved. This would then open the possibility for such treatment for the majority of T1D patients. Since there is a limited number of β-cells available from conventional organ donors for clinical transplantation, protocols are focused on using a renewable source of insulin-producing-cells, pluripotent stem cells, either induced pluripotent or embryonic stem cell derived. The former also provides the opportunity to circumvent allogeneic reactions focusing on innate immune and possible autoimmune components. The strategies included are to diminish innate immunity reactions after transplantation and to coat islets with protective cells such as decidual or mesenchymal stem cells before transplantation. A challenge in this effort is to identify strategies that are clinically translatable, i.e. find a modification that could be accepted as an advanced therapeutic medicinal product (ATMP).

Ongoing Projects...

For further information about this research group please contact Joey Lau Börjesson