The Massachusetts medical device giant is part of the DRIVE consortium, a $9.9 million (€8.9 million) initiative backed by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research fund.
The project’s goal is to move beyond the standard of care for diabetes patients – daily insulin injections. Instead, the group will explore ways to enable transplant and survival of pancreatic cells that can sense blood sugar levels and then release insulin.
Researchers at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the Science Foundation Ireland-funded AMBER materials science center developed a substance that combines pancreatic cells inside a gel that apes the pancreatic structure, RTE News reported.
Boston Scientific, working with RSCI, is developing a way to put the gel in a capsule and inject it into the body in a minimally invasive way, according to the report. The company maintains a sizeable presence in Ireland.
If all goes well, the injected capsule could help patients control their glucose levels for up to 5 years. That’s a leg up on current methods involving pancreatic cell transplants, which are used when insulin injections become ineffective.
What’s more, the capsule that houses the gel would release an immunosuppressant material over time, to help reduce the risk of rejection of the pancreatic cells. Once the capsule is empty, clinicians can remove it, refill it, and go again, according to the website.
In all, 14 academic and industry partners from 7 European countries are taking part in the project, according to the report.