PURPOSE OF REVIEW: New treatment strategies are needed for patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Closed loop insulin delivery and beta-cell replacement therapy are promising new strategies. This review aims to give an insight in the most relevant literature on this topic and to compare the two radically different treatment modalities.
RECENT FINDINGS: Multiple clinical studies have been performed with closed loop insulin delivery devices and have shown an improvement in overall glycemic control and time spent in hypoglycemia. Beta-cell transplantation has been shown to normalize or greatly improve glycemic control in T1D, but the donor organ shortage and the necessity to use immunosuppressive agents are major drawbacks. Donor organ shortage may be solved by the utilization of stem cell-derived beta cells, which has shown great promise in animal models and are now tested in clinical studies. Immunosuppression may be avoided by encapsulation. Closed loop insulin delivery devices are promising treatment strategies and are likely to be used in clinical practice in the short term. But this approach will always suffer from delays in glucose measurement and insulin action preventing it from normalizing glycemic control. In the long term, stem cell-derived beta cell transplantation may be able to achieve this, but wide implementation in clinical practice is still far away.