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Presenter: Riccardo, Calafiore, Perugia, Italy
Authors: Riccardo Calafiore
The field of envelopment of islets and insulin producing cells within mainly alginate-based microcapsules, of several physical configurations, and variably designed multi-polymeric macro-devices, for cell immunoprotection purposes, with no recipient’s pharmacological immunosuppression, will be described. Starting from the very early prototypes back in the ‘80s, much progress has been accomplished, until recently, in several laboratories worldwide, through creation of novel microcapsules or scaffolds, sometimes based on sophisticated chemistries, mainly for animal experimental research purpose, with quite few pilot clinicals being so far reported. As of today, search for an ideal candidate for islets/insulin producing cells encapsulation is not over yet, and it is actively being pursued.
Prof. Calafiore, after his MD degree and post-graduate specialization in Internal Medicine, at the University of Perugia, Perugia, IT, in 1979, spent years of training in the USA, in basic research for diabetes (Mayo Medical School and Mayo Clinic, Rochester MN, 1983; University of Miami, Miami, FL1985-87; UCLA, Los Angeles CA 1991-93) mainly focused on cell replacement therapy, using microencapsulated islets/insulin producing cells. This intense work has continued on over the past two decades at the home University of Perugia, summing up to actually 30 years of work in the field. He pioneered transplant of microencapsulated human pancreatic islet cells into patients with Type 1 Diabetes in Perugia (2004-09). Recently, he developed new strategies for cell and molecular therapy of type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus, using both microcapsules and macro-matrices for embedding several cell types (mesenchymal stem cells, Sertoli cells etc.). Basic research lab and academic teaching, in the every day life, are coupled with full time clinical care of endocrine and diabetic patients.
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