Timothy Kassis and Alex Brown
Pancreatic islets are directly responsible for regulating blood glucose levels and are implicated in a variety of diseases most notably Diabetes. Islets in the body are surrounded by a very complex environment and are highly vascularized. The vessels feeding the islets are not only important in maintaining islet viability, but also play crucial signaling roles for proper islet function. Studying islet physiology and developing drugs to cure diabetes requires a physiologically accurate culture model. To this end the images here display the first ever demonstration of vascularizing pancreatic islets in vitro.
Our main goal is to create a physiologically relevant pancreas microphysiological system (pancreas-on-a-chip) that truly recapitulates the behavior or islets in vivo. Such a platform is greatly needed to further our understanding of both diabetes and other endocrine related diseases.