The first successful islet cell encapsulation therapy has been implanted into a person with type 1 diabetes. ViaCyte, the partner company of JDRF, a leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes, is currently developing their VC-01 device, which is designed to treat type 1 diabetes.
VC-01 contains thousands of immature human islet cells derived from stem cells in a capsule. These cells then mature into insulin-producing cells once implanted inside the body. This transplantation is exciting as the cells are kept safe from the immune system, which normally destroys insulin-producing cells in people with type 1 diabetes.
This system from ViaCyte could subsequently allow people with type 1 diabetes to produce their own insulin automatically when responding to changing glucose levels.
VC-01 is currently being trialled at the University of California, with the primary goal to evaluate its safety on people who have had type 1 diabetes for at least three years. The people in the study will be closely monitored over the next two years, in which they will otherwise go about their daily lives as normal. Making them insulin independent is not the initial aim, but after an evaluation, it is expected that additional locations and trials will be activated from early 2015.
“Treating the first patient with our stem cell-derived islet replacement product candidate is an exciting next step in our quest to transform the way patients with type 1 diabetes are impacted by the condition,” said Dr. Paul Laikind, President and CEO of ViaCyte.
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