As part of the Transplant International special issue on The Future of Beta Cells Replacement in the Era of Regenerative Medicine and Organ Bioengineering, VANGUARD partners published a review article on Clinical Translation of Bio-Artificial Pancreas Therapies: Ethical, Legal and Psychosocial Interdisciplinary Considerations and Key Recommendations. The full article is available open access online: https://www.frontierspartnerships.org/articles/10.3389/ti.2023.11705/full
The field of regenerative medicine offers potential therapies for Type 1 Diabetes, whereby metabolically active cellular components are combined with synthetic medical devices. These therapies are sometimes referred to as “bioartificial pancreases.” For these emerging and rapidly developing therapies to be clinically translated to patients, researchers must overcome not just scientific hurdles, but also navigate complex legal, ethical and psychosocial issues. In this article, we first provide an introductory overview of the key legal, ethical and psychosocial considerations identified in the existing literature and identify areas where research is currently lacking. We then highlight two principal areas of concern in which these discrete disciplines significantly overlap: 1) individual autonomy and 2) access and equality. Using the example of beta-cell provenance, we demonstrate how, by harnessing an interdisciplinary approach we can address these key areas of concern. Moreover, we provide practical recommendations to researchers, clinicians, and policymakers which will help to facilitate the clinical translation of this cutting-edge technology for Type 1 Diabetes patients. Finally, we emphasize the importance of exploring patient perspectives to ensure their responsible and acceptable translation from bench to body.