A retrievable implant for the long-term encapsulation and survival of therapeutic xenogeneic cells

Suman Bose, Lisa R. Volpatti, Devina Thiono, Volkan Yesilyurt, Collin McGladrigan, Yaoyu Tang, Amanda Facklam, Amy Wang, Siddharth Jhunjhunwala, Omid Veiseh, Jennifer Hollister-Lock, Chandrabali Bhattacharya, Gordon C. Weir, Dale L. Greiner, Robert Langer, Daniel G. Anderson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


The long-term function of transplanted therapeutic cells typically requires systemic immune suppression. Here, we show that a retrievable implant comprising a silicone reservoir and a porous polymeric membrane protects human cells encapsulated in it after implant transplantation in the intraperitoneal space of immunocompetent mice. Membranes with pores 1 µm in diameter allowed host macrophages to migrate into the device without the loss of transplanted cells, whereas membranes with pore sizes <0.8 µm prevented their infiltration by immune cells. A synthetic polymer coating prevented fibrosis and was necessary for the long-term function of the device. For >130 days, the device supported human cells engineered to secrete erythropoietin in immunocompetent mice, as well as transgenic human cells carrying an inducible gene circuit for the on-demand secretion of erythropoietin. Pancreatic islets from rats encapsulated in the device and implanted in diabetic mice restored normoglycaemia in the mice for over 75 days. The biocompatible device provides a retrievable solution for the transplantation of engineered cells in the absence of immunosuppression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)814-826
Number of pages13
JournalNature Biomedical Engineering
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Science Applications


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