Microfabricated immunoisolating biocapsules

Tejal A. Desai, Wen Hwa Chu, Jay K. Tu, Gillian M. Beattie, Alberto Hayek, Mauro Ferrari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

184 Scopus citations


A microfabricated silicon-based biocapsule for the immunoisolation of cell transplants is presented. The biocapsule-forming process employs bulk micromachining to define cell-containing chambers within single crystalline silicon wafers. These chambers interface with the surrounding biological environment through polycrystalline silicon filter membranes. The membranes are surface micromachined to present a high density of uniform pores, thus affording sufficient permeability to oxygen, glucose, and insulin. The pore dimensions, as small as 20 rim, are designed to impede the passage of immune molecules and graft-borne viruses. The underlying filter-membrane nanotechnology has been successfully applied in controlled cell culture systems (Ferrari et al, 1995), and is under study for viral elimination in plasma fractionation protocols. Here we report the encouraging results of in vitro experiments investigating the biocompatibility of the microfabricated biocapsule, and demonstrate that encapsulated rat neonatal pancreatic islets significantly outlive and outperform controls in terms of insulin-secretion capability over periods of several weeks. These results appear to warrant further investigations on the potential of cell xenografts encapsulated within microfabricated, immunoisolating environments for the treatment of insulin-dependent diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-120
Number of pages3
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 5 1998


  • Biocompatibility
  • Biohybrid organs
  • Immunoisolation
  • Islets of Langerhans
  • Microfabrication
  • Silicon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Microbiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Microfabricated immunoisolating biocapsules'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this