ISM RESEARCH: EARLY YEARS

Islet Sheet research began as an adaptation of a technology invented by Randy Dorian and Rich Antanavich for large scale cell culture. From his knowledge of the UC coating technology and his awareness of the deficiencies of individually coated islets, Randy Dorian conceived a new technology.

The "first generation" sheet developed in 1992 comprises thin membranes welded together to create a "tea-bag" within a support ring. Islets are placed inside after fabrication. This device is deficient in several respects but led to the development of the current design.

From 1993 to 1996 ISM explored many methods for fabrication of thin sheet artificial organs. Prototype sheets were manufactured and their properties studied, including strength, thickness and diffusion characteristics. Chromatographic beads were used to simulate the presence of islets (figure to right). The results of these investigations were patented by ISM.

ISM received its first significant funding in June, 1998. Initial work focussed on assessment of polymer purity and bioinvisibility, and then on refinement of methods for sheet fabrication. A number of way were found to simplify and improve the fabrication methods. These are the subject of patent applications.