Islets of Langerhans implantation is a viable method to treat type I diabetes. Unfortunately, during islets isolation their vascular system is disrupted, and they need external supply of oxygen and other nutrients. A photosynthetic bioartificial device was constructed to support the oxygen consumption of the islets and to treat type I diabetes. The bioartificial device is built in layers where the core is an illumination module composed of a LED array and a light guide. The next layer is immobilized photosynthetic organism (Synechococcus lividus). An oxygen-permeable silicon/Teflon membrane separates the photosynthetic layer from the islets of Langerhans layer. This layer is protected from the immune system of the body by a porous Teflon membrane. The device is powered by batteries that supply electricity to a LED array. The oxygen produced by S. lividus is consumed by implanted islets of Langerhans that produce insulin and allow the reversal of diabetes in the patient. In this chapter, we demonstrate the ability of S. lividus to produce oxygen after being implanted for prolonged periods and eventually the ability of the device containing S. lividus and the islets of Langerhans to reverse diabetes for 10 days. To achieve this task, we developed improved media to grow cyanobacteria and, inter alia, developed a method to disperse light uniformly and in very short distances.
Part of the book: Applied Photosynthesis