New therapy for type 1 diabetes that would eradicate injections makes further progress

Posted on 21 July 2014

A new therapy for type 1 diabetes that would remove the need for injections or pumps – by allowing people to produce their own insulin again – has moved closer to human trials.news_injection

The regenerative medicine company ViaCyte has filed an Investigational New Drug application with the U.S Food and Drug Administration, seeking the right to progress towards clinical trials for its cell replacement therapy.

ViaCyte has manipulated stem cells – which are cells that can develop into any human cell type – to potentially develop into mature pancreatic cells once implanted into a patient with type 1 diabetes. If successful, these cells would then have the capability to produce insulin in a glucose-responsive manner, thus eliminating the need for injections or pumps.

The therapy would see the cells being ‘encapsulated’ before being placed in the body. This is where a protective barrier mechanism prevents misfiring immune cells targeting the pancreatic beta cells inside, whilst simultaneously allowing the release of insulin.

The treatment would be administered through a simple, outpatient surgical procedure.

ViaCyte hopes to test the product in patients living with type 1 diabetes within two years. Furthermore, ViaCyte has already developed the product further to also release glucagon, a hormone that stimulates the release of glucose in response to hypoglycaemia.

JDRF provided substantial funding to help ViaCyte’s project develop.

Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF in the UK, said: ‘JDRF will be continuing to work in partnership with ViaCyte as the company makes further progress towards clinical trials. If successful, this therapy would be life changing for those with type 1 diabetes.’