HOLLYWOOD, FL -- They come from New York, Miami, Milwaukee and more. They have children of all ages with type 1 diabetes - and they're on a mission to find a cure. They're the "Real Moms of the DRI Foundation" and in honor of Mother's Day they're asking millions of moms - and others - to support the Diabetes Research Institute, a world leader in cure-focused research.
(Reuters) - Stem cells can be transformed into the pancreatic cells needed to treat diabetes and into complex layers of intestinal tissue, scientists demonstrated in two experiments reported on Sunday.
City of Hope researchers have found that bone marrow transplantation with islet cell transplantation shows promise as a treatment for late-stage type 1 diabetes. This combination may enable patients to make their own insulin again. Results from laboratory research led by Defu Zeng, MD, associate professor in the departments of Diabetes Research and Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation at City of Hope, were published online this month in the journal Diabetes.
IMIDIA ("Innovative Medicines Initiative for Diabetes"), a public private consortium funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), announced today the launch of a project focusing on pancreatic islet cell function and survival. Academia, biotech and pharma industry have joined forces to develop biomarkers and tools to pave the way for improved disease management and ultimately provide a cure for diabetes.
NEW YORK, April 27, 2010 - The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation announced today that it is partnering with Living Cell Technologies (LCT), a New Zealand-based biotechnology company focused on developing cell based therapeutics, in a Phase II clinical trial to study the safety and effectiveness of transplanting encapsulated insulin-producing cells from pigs as a treatment for type 1 diabetes with significant hypoglycemia unawareness.
Researchers at RIKEN and Fukuoka University have pinpointed the mechanism responsible for early rejection of transplanted pancreatic islet cells in the treatment of type 1 diabetes. A new system based on this mechanism has been shown to vastly increase transplant efficiency, setting the stage for the development of powerful new treatment techniques.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Researchers have transformed ordinary mouse skin cells directly into neurons, bypassing the need for stem cells or even stemlike cells and greatly speeding up the field of regenerative medicine.
NEW YORK, Jan. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Montefiore Medical Center continues to expand its portfolio of options for patients in need of organ transplantation. The new Pancreas Transplant Program will treat patients with severe, end-stage diabetes. As the only Pancreas Transplant Program in the Bronx and Westchester, and one of only several in Greater New York, patients will be able to receive world-class care close to home. The program currently has nine patients medically approved and waiting for a pancreas transplant.
One potential avenue for the treatment for type 1 diabetes is to transplant insulin-producing islet cells into the body. The Edmonton Protocol is a method of implanting pancreatic islets into the liver for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. The protocol is named for the islet transplantation group at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, where the protocol was first devised in the late 1990s.
WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A 21-year old Airman severely wounded in Afghanistan is recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center after several surgeries and an unprecedented transplant.
A Swedish biotechnology company, TikoMed AB, has received notice that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is granting orphan drug designation to its IBsolvMIR® drug for preventing the rejection of transplanted pancreatic islet cells in type 1 patients.
Many autoimmune diseases, such as lupus erythematosis and type 1 diabetes, are caused by autoantibodies. An autoantibody is an antibody (a protein) produced by the immune system of an individual, which is directed against a different protein of the the same individual.
One thing that really frustrates people with diabetes mellitus is the biopharma industry's focus on treatments rather than cures. A cure is what the diabetes community wants, not another band-aid. So the existence of a biopharma company that calls itself "CureDM" is promising, and its first product, Pancreate, seems to be on its way to fulfilling that promise.
April 2009 was an exciting month at the University of Alberta. It marked the tenth anniversary of an unprecedented approach to islet transplantation, recognized globally as the "Edmonton Protocol." Each year since that milestone has produced evidence of progress in the art of islet isolation and the science of the transplant process. I know this because I lived it. I am patient number thirty-three, one of the many who have witnessed the evolution of this continuing innovation.
Nearly every time that I mention islet transplantation in a conversation about diabetes, the person I'm with responds with a sniff that it's never going to work because of the immune suppression problem.
Are you a scientific anomaly like me? Have you or someone you know reversed the complications associated with diabetes? Did you suffer microvascular and macrovascular damage during the “growing pains” of coming to terms with having no choice but to live your life with diabetes? Then, did you turn around and find love and hope, which made you change your life? And after changing it, did you find after several years that you were healing the damage that you had incurred by your own misguided hand?
Non-beta "progenitor" cells in the pancreas can be stimulated to turn into beta cells even after birth or autoimmune injury to the pancreas, say researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School.
One of the most promising approaches to the treatment of type 1 diabetes is the transplantation of human islet cells. The major drawback to the procedure has been that even though recipients initially enjoy revitalized pancreases that pump out copious amounts of insulin, their immune systems soon act as spoilsports and reject the donated cells.
Even as diabetes researchers worldwide strive for total control over-or even an outright cure of-type 1 diabetes via gene therapy, altered cells, or surgical intervention, other researchers continue to press toward creation of a functional "artificial pancreas."
A 55-year-old woman whose pancreas was removed due to chronic pancreatitis is not without a pancreas, thanks to the ingenuity of surgeons at the Methodist Hospital in Houston. After they removed her pancreas, they extracted its islet cells and implanted them into her left forearm, creating what they call a functioning pancreas in her arm. (Transplanted islet cells are usually injected into the liver, but in this case the patient's liver had damage that precluded its use.) Apparently the patient is recovering handily and should be armed with insulin as soon as the transplanted cells become fully functional.
Back in 2007, a gleaming porker barn, unlike anything ever before seen in the annals of pigsty architecture, began operations in western Wisconsin. Known as the Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation Islet Resource Facility, the barn is operated by the Spring Point Project. The Project's ultimate goal is to provide an unlimited supply of high-grade pig pancreatic islets for transplant into people with diabetes.
The National Institutes of Health will fund studies at 11 research centers in the United States, Canada, Sweden and Norway to look into ways to improve outcomes and lessen the side effects from islet cell transplantations in people with type 1 diabetes.
Scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston have initiated a phase 1 clinical trial to reverse type 1 diabetes. The trial is exploring whether the promising results from the laboratory of Denise Faustman, MD, PhD, can be applied in human diabetes.
City of Hope researchers were among the more than 50 international investigators reporting advances against type 1 diabetes at the recent Rachmiel Levine Diabetes and Obesity Symposium in Newport Beach, Calif.
Sponsor a pig and you can help a unique collaboration between Spring Point
Project and the University of Minnesota to begin transplanting insulin-producing
islet cells from pigs to humans within the next two years.
First we find out that our belly fat is an endocrine organ, and now it's our bones. Dr. Gerard Karsenty of Columbia University has discovered that bone-building cells (osteoblasts) secrete a hormone called osteocalcin that not only tells the beta cells to secrete more insulin, but also causes the number of beta cells themselves to increase.
Living Cells Technologies (LCT) has announced that their Moscow trial of pig cell implantation, which began in June, is well underway: In September, the second of six type 1 patients was injected with 5,000 "islet equivalents per kilogram" of Diabecells into the peritoneal cavity.
When islet cells are transplanted into a person, they don't go into their usual home in the pancreas. Instead, they're injected into the portal vein, the large vein that feeds the liver with rich fats and sugars from the digestive system.
Recently we wrote that Living Cell Technologies (LCT), a New Zealand company, was about to begin transplanting pig islets into humans in a year-long Phase I/IIA clinical trial in Moscow, Russia ("Piglet Islets Soon Tested in Humans").
Researchers from Philadelphia have just discovered that beta cells,
the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, divide, albeit slowly,
to make new beta cells. Adult stem cells, which are precursors of
new skin, intestines, and other tissues, apparently do not
differentiate into beta cells or other pancreatic tissue.
Eight New Zealanders with type 1 diabetes are hoping to receive pig islet transplantations by the end of the year, now that the company Living Cell Technologies (LCT) has surmounted the first of three regulatory hurdles in pursuit of permission for a twelve-month trial in New Zealand.
A recent Joslin-led study has identified the insulin receptor as an important protein that promotes islet cell growth in mice whose bodies are unable to use insulin properly, or are insulin resistant, a precursor to type 2 diabetes.
Researchers from Sao Paulo in Brazil have announced that in a group of fifteen insulin-requiring, newly-diagnosed patients with type 1 diabetes, stem cell therapy has preserved beta cell function and eliminated the need for insulin for up to 35 months so far.
Ten years ago, Michael Helyer, a New Zealand man with type 1 diabetes for eighteen years, received a transplant of pig islets. Much to the surprise of researchers, the pig cells are still putting out insulin at this late date. In fact, it was Mr. Helyer who alerted scientists at Living Cell Technologies (LCT) that the cells were still functioning.
Dr. Bernhard Hering of the University of Minnesota is recognized the world over as the premier expert on pancreatic islet transplants. He sees islet transplantation as the best hope for the cure of type 1 diabetes, and his optimism is supported by his research.
In February 2007, one of the finest pig barns in the history of the world opened at a secret location in western Wisconsin. The $6.2 million, 21,000-square-foot Islet Resource Facility is a bio-secure facility for 100 “medical grade” pigs. A religious farming community, the Hutterian Brethren, is helping care for the pigs, which are barricaded from the outside world and pampered with filtered air, sterilized water, and decontaminated food.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - For the millions of people worldwide who are afflicted with diabetes, we are now one step closer to a potential cure for the disease. Spring Point Project, a non-profit organization created to expedite the widespread availability of islet tissue for diabetes care, will open its first biosecure animal facility in Western Wisconsin in February to hold high-health pathogen-free pigs. Insulin-producing islet cells from pigs are needed to meet the demands that cannot be realized by using transplantation of human islets.
Six people are about to receive pig islet transplantations for the first time, as a
New Zealand company called Living Cell Technologies (LCT) begins a year-long Phase
I/IIA clinical trial in Moscow, Russia.
On January 27, in Phoenix, Arizona, ten-year-old Andrew gave up his beloved miniature
horse, Zig Zag, to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
He had to think about it hard; they’d been together since he was six. But he
swallowed his sorrow and donated his pony to the JDRF’s gala auction because he
believed “Zig Zag could help find a cure.”
Novocell, Inc., a San Diego, California-based stem cell engineering company, announced on October 19, 2006, the development of a process that “efficiently converts human embryonic stem cells into insulin-producing pancreatic endocrine cells.”
Researchers in Italy say that ype 1s who undergo a successful pancreas transplant alone, without having a kidney transplant as well, have improved kidney function as well as restored normal blood glucose levels without the need for insulin therapy.
“I’ve had diabetes for 35 years,” read one e-mail message to our Islet Service at DiabetesPortal.com. “I only have retinopathy and mild neuropathy, but I am having trouble feeling lows [hypoglycemia]. I want a cure that doesn’t require anti-rejection drugs.”
A joint study by the University of Minnesota and the University of California San Francisco, with one islet cell infusion from a single donor pancreas, has achieved insulin independence in four of six people with longterm type 1 diabetes.
Adding a synthetic antioxidant compound to islets slated for transplantation preserves two to three times as many islets as in batches that do not receive the antioxidant, say researchers in Pittsburgh who are studying the process in mice. Antioxidants counteract damage that can be caused by oxygen in tissues.
Adding a synthetic antioxidant compound to islets slated for transplantation preserves two to three times as many islets as in batches that do not receive the antioxidant, say researchers in Pittsburgh who are studying the process in mice. Antioxidants counteract damage that can be caused by oxygen in tissues.
By 2004, every islet transplantation facility will have to be certified as a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facility by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Islet and Cellular Transplantation Center at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is the first such facility to receive GMP certification—ensuring that the highest international standards are maintained for the isolation and purification of islets for transplantation.
By 2004, every islet transplantation facility will have to be certified as a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facility by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Islet and Cellular Transplantation Center at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is the first such facility to receive GMP certification - ensuring that the highest international standards are maintained for the isolation and purification of islets for transplantation.
Some may think that it should be easy to cure diabetes: all you'd need would be an endless supply of islets, the pancreatic cells that produce insulin, to be transplanted into people with diabetes. But there are not nearly enough donated organs to go around, and, because the donated pancreas is actually someone else's organ, transplant patients need to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their lives.
Q: Are pancreas transplants very successful for someone who has had a previous successful kidney transplant? I have been considering a pancreas transplant, but several doctors have told me the success rates are not that good and that, in some cases, the individual develops a milder form of diabetes.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) of New York, New York, has awarded a $15 million grant to the University of Alberta in Alberta, Canada. The five-year grant will be used to open an additional clinical research center dedicated to furthering Edmonton Protocol research by addressing some of the problems associated with islet cell transplantation.
After 40 years on insulin, Bob Teskey, 56, could no longer keep his blood-glucose levels under control. As his condition worsened, his hypoglycemic (low blood-glucose) episodes became more and more intrusive on his life. Teskey talked to his doctors, but there was nothing they could do except tweak his insulin regimen, which did not solve the problem. He continued to collapse unexpectedly, as his blood-glucose levels dropped without warning.
The Scripps-Whittier Diabetes Research Program at the University of California, San Diego, has announced that sometime in late 2002, it will create a new islet-research center focused on harvesting islets and transplanting them into humans. In addition, the new lab will perform research aimed at replicating islets to help solve the problem with donor shortages.
On July 31, Israeli researchers turned human embryonic stem cells into a mass of islets which, in turn, produced insulin. However, the islets created from the stem cells did not shown that they could regulate insulin secretion based upon the body's glucose levels.
In a special report published on February 7 by the Journal of the American Association entitled "Forecasting Opportunities in Medical Research," leaders in the medical research community outline the status of medical research today.
In an effort to deter President Bush from blocking federal funds for embryonic stem-cell research, 80 U.S. Nobel laureates—among them DNA co-discoverers James Watson and Francis Crick, molecular biologist Hamilton O. Smith, and Edward Lewis—faxed a letter to the White House.
On January 19, Islet Sheet Medical of San Francisco announced it has begun a collaborative research effort with Edmonton Protocol pioneers James Shapiro and Jonathan Lakey of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.
The landscape of embryonic stem-cell research could very well change when Texas Governor George W. Bush takes office later this month. The President can issue an executive order banning monies earmarked for specific research causes at NIH. He has the power to determine whether NIH can or cannot use funding for embryonic stem-cell research.
According to the NIH Stem Cell Research Guidelines, human pluripotent stem cells are a unique scientific and medical resource, which can develop into most of the specialized cells and tissues of the body.
In August 2000, the potential for finding a type 1 cure was championed when the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued guidelines concerning the use of federal funds for research using stem cells from frozen human embryos.
At a three-day August conference held in Oxford, England, organized by the European Association for the Study of Diabetes and the JDF, researchers unveiled a variety of findings that might indicate a source for beta cells.
On June 6 and 7, academic and industry researchers joined in San Jose, California, for a two-day Artificial Pancreas Symposium. The tone of the conference was to discuss technology capable of monitoring glucose and automatically delivering the correct amount of insulin for the control of blood glucose in people with diabetes.
Recently, Dr. James Shapiro and a team of transplant surgeons at the University of Alberta in Edmonton transplanted islets into 10 people with type 1 diabetes. In previous studies, only eight percent of islet-transplant recipients have remained off insulin for one year. The Edmonton Protocol is the first study in which 100 percent of islet-transplant recipients have been insulin-independent for one year.
Scientists at the University of California at San Diego recently announced that they have successfully grown beta cells that can produce insulin. The finding may eliminate one of the biggest obstacles in making islet transplantation a viable treatment for diabetes.
If doctors were able to place healthy, insulin-producing islets into a person with diabetes in a minimally invasive procedure that needs to be repeated only occasionally, diabetes care as we know it would be finished. Patients might occasionally need insulin, and would of course want to keep an eye on their blood glucose levels, but the often-grueling regimen many of us now follow would be a thing of the past.
On May 18, Congressional Diabetes Caucus co-chair George Nethercutt, R-Wash., and colleagues Reps. Lois Capps D-Ca., John Edward Porter R-Ill. and John LaFalce D-N.Y., introduced H.R. 4495. The bill, known as the Insulin-Free World Medicare Pancreas Transplantation Coverage Act, would provide Medicare coverage for all "medically necessary" pancreas transplants.
In the March issue of the journal Nature Medicine, Ammon Peck, MD, and colleagues at the University of Florida in Gainseville, reported that the use of stem cells reversed diabetes in an animal model. Their experiment was the first to demonstrate that the cells were as valuable as researchers have speculated in treating diabetes.
Renowned researcher Aaron Vinik, MD, PhD, believes that the ability to generate new insulin-secreting islets from a patient's own pancreatic cells represents a potential cure for diabetes, without the need for antirejection medications.
Pancreas Tonic, a new herbal treatment for people with diabetes, is drawing conflicting opinions from different quarters of the diabetes community. In 1999, Pancreas Tonic was hailed during an episode of the NBC television program EXTRA as "…the cure for diabetes" by William Taylor, MD, an internist. In additon, testimonials were given by people with diabetes who said that Pancreas Tonic really worked for the treatment of their blood sugars. According to transcripts from the EXTRA episode, Taylor added that Pancreas Tonic could be "one of the biggest medical breakthroughs of the century."
On September 11, 1998, Jackie Warren Demijohn, 42, a domestic violence outreach counselor from Farwell, Michigan, took a monumental leap in controlling the diabetes she had suffered from for the last 37 years. Demijohn underwent the first-ever islet and bone marrow transplant at the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) in Miami.
The debate over the safety of transplanting pig islets into humans became even more controversial in late August. Researchers at the British biotechnology company Imutran Ltd. determined that 160 people from eight countries who carry living pig tissue showed no signs of Porcine Endogenous Retrovirus (PERV) infection. According to Associated Press (AP) news wire reports, 36 of the 160 patients had a high risk of PERV infection because they had very weak immune systems. The study, the largest yet of people treated with pig tissue, was confirmed by testing at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In the hopes that its islet-reproducing technology will soon be perfected, biotech company Desmos is partnering with other companies to work on technology that protects the islets after transplantation.
DI: First, we have a message to pass along. Shannon Openshaw called us, from Bemidji, Minnesota. Her 11-year-old daughter, Adrienne, was diagnosed with diabetes in March. Shannon and Adrienne want to tell you that you gave her courage. She was feeling like she was going to have to give up a lot, but you changed that. They say, thanks.
Two San Diego companies, Demos and Micro Islet, recently joined forces to advance islet transplantation. Desmos will make the islets, while Micro Islet will protect them once they've been transplanted.
There's a buzz in the diabetes community from a recent islet transplantation success with a drug called anti-CD154. Given to monkeys once per month after islet transplants, anti-CD154 kept the islets working, and kept the monkeys free of insulin injections, and other harmful immunosuppressive drugs, for one year.
The federal government has said $120 million of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) allocated budget will be given to clinical trials of islet transplantation. On June 7, Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the allocation, and kicked off the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation Children's Congress in Washington.
The Juvenile Diabetes Foundation (JDF) has granted another $10 million for islet transplant research. The money will be divided among eight centers worldwide, linking the knowledge of the top islet scientists.
Miss America, Nicole Johnson, took time out at the "Day of Hope" to say hello to DIABETES HEALTH publisher Scott M. King. The "Day of Hope" was held March 27 in Palm Springs, California, as a diabetes product fair and research forum. It featured Miss America and three speakers from the diabetes business and research world. Alberto Hayek, MD, a leading islet researcher, announced that he is replicating beta cells 1 to 25,000, a true breakthrough on the road to islet transplantation. Another speaker, Scott R. King of Islet Sheet Medical, will collaborate with Hayek and use the replicated cells for his company's work in encapsulating islets for transplantation. Finally, Russell Potts, vice president at Cygnus, hopeful makers of a watch-like, noninvasive glucose monitor, presented his views on noninvasive blood testing.
Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have discovered technology that could be a big step toward islet transplantation. TSRI cannot give much information right now because it has not yet been published in a scientific journal. A TSRI representative expects publication soon.
For 15 years, Alberto Hayek, MD, has been conducting research on islet transplants, while also treating children with diabetes and teaching pediatric endocrinology at San Diego's Children's Hospital. Born in Colombia and educated at Yale and Harvard, Dr. Hayek is currently the lead investigator on islet cell transplantation at the Whittier Institute of La Jolla, California.
I was among the 400 individuals who attended Today's Solutions for Type 1 Diabetes in St. Louis this past May. The seminar, organized and hosted by the Insulin-Free World Foundation, brought together leading researchers and those of us living with the disease to discuss current transplant options and possible future treatments.
In the late 1960s scientists started toying with the idea of replacing insulin producing cells (islets) to cure diabetes. These islets make up a mere one to two percent portion of the pancreas. The goal of this work is that eventually, one dose of insulin producing cells could last a lifetime and not require drugs to suppress the immune system.
When the first pancreas transplant was performed in 1966 at the University of Minnesota, doctors considered it a risky venture at best. Three decades later and over a 1,000 people in the United States undergo a pancreas or simultaneous pancreas/kidney transplant every year. Still, a cloud of misinformation surrounds the procedure.
Q: What information do you have on the latest work being done on islet cell transplants for type I diabetics? When my 13-year-old daughter was diagnosed four and a half years ago, it seemed a cure was around the corner. Now it seems there are more obstacles than resolutions. Any hopeful information?
What is on the horizon in organ transplants? Will hearts, livers, pancreases and kidneys be grown in a laboratory? Not in the near future, but doctors at Harvard have used cells from animal fetuses to produce new bladders and windpipes for sheep.
Will Medicare pay for a pancreas transplant? The current answer is no. However, a new study under way by NIDDK will collect data to try to convince Medicare otherwise. The Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) will use an NIDDK study of pancreas-kidney transplants to figure out when and under what circumstances, pancreas-kidney transplants are reasonable and necessary. These transplants would then be covered under the Medicare Program.
Researchers have recently discovered a gene that appears to be critical to the regeneration of islet cells. Lead researcher, Aaron Vinik, MD, PhD, admits that, " ... our findings are still preliminary and much more research in both animals and humans is needed." But based on work done on hamsters, it appears that the discovery could have the potential for regenerating islet cells in humans.
A study published in the December 1995 issue of Lancet, indicating a dual pancreas-kidney transplant may be more dangerous than previously suspected, has stirred controversy at the University of Minnesota.
In response to a warning from the FDA, Loran Medical Systems has suspended its controversial trials which involve injecting people with diabetes with fetal and rabbit pancreatic cells. The warning, issued January 4th, states that Loran violated regulations that govern the importing of biological products and the conducting of clinical trials. Critics have called the company's procedure, which costs $20,000, unproven and ineffective.
The goal of all islet encapsulation research is to prevent the need for immunosuppressive drugs. These drugs prevent the immune system from attacking the new islet cells but cause serious complications of their own. Encapsulation technology involves enclosing insulin-producing islet cells in a semi-permeable membrane that allows small molecules, like glucose, insulin, and nutrients to pass but prevents larger immune-system molecules from entering.
A company in Southern California has become the center of debate within the diabetes community. The company, Loran Medical Systems, is conducting studies involving fetal pancreatic tissue. More unusual than the science is the fact that patients are paying thousands of dollars to participate in clinical trials.
It seems like fantasy, something the doctors on Star Trek would have in their repertoire. But this is not science fiction-as we hurtle toward the 21st century, researchers are racing toward a practical method of islet transplantation, the procedure that could revolutionize diabetes treatment.
The transplantation of pancreatic islet cells is the only known potential cure for type I diabetes, and in spite of many promising results in animal studies, it remains a highly experimental and costly operation for humans. In January 1994, DIABETES HEALTH spoke to Steven Craig, the first person to receive encapsulated islet cell transplants.
Islet Transplantation - Available When? In our April issue, Mr. Metabolism (Scott Robert King) wrote about the evolution of the islet transplant industry and invited questions. He has received several queries. These came through the Internet:
The Neocrin Company is presently one of the leading biomedical companies involved in the research and development of a bio-artificial pancreas. This minimally invasive implantable device will be used for the treatment of insulin dependent diabetes.
Mr. Metabolism loves to follow new developments in diabetes research—in fact, that's one of the ways he makes his living. The following brief summaries give Mr. Metabolism's views on the Research Reports in the latest issue of DIABETES HEALTH.
Using ultrasonography, researchers at the Armed Forces Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia have discovered that people who suffer from insulin deficiency, in either type I or insulin treated type 2 diabetes, have markedly smaller pancreases than non-diabetic control subjects and people with sulfonylurea treated type 2 diabetes.
On August 16th, CytoTherapeutics Incorporated announced the commencement of its FDA-approved trial involving polymer-encapsulated islet cells. The trial is designed to establish that their semi-permeable membrane can allow enough nutrients through to keep the encapsulated cells alive while protecting them from destruction without the use of immunosuppressive drugs. The implant will be tested in people with type I and type 2 diabetes, as well as in a nondiabetic control group. The trial will be conducted at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and results of the 4 month viability study are expected by the end of 1993.
An Italian research team reports the success of islet cell transplant experiments conducted on ten patients with Type I diabetes. All of the patients involved in the experiments were immunosuppressed, and received islet cells in conjunction with kidney or liver transplants. In total, over 70% of the patients who received islet cells no longer required insulin therapy.
Los Angeles, CA, May 13, 1993 - The first encapsulated pancreatic islet cell transplant in humans was reported today by physician scientists of the National Institute of Transplantation at St. Vincent Medical Center, Los Angeles.
New developments in materials, bio-engineering techniques and other disciplines have recently taken the concept of artificial organs from fantasy to reality. EU 346 PANART-Artificial Pancreas, for example, aims to develop an implanted artificial insulin delivery system, which promises to give diabetes sufferers a more normal and healthy lifestyle.
Fetal tissue. No other topic in diabetes research is as emotionally stirring. Some say that fetal tissue is the key to progress, and perhaps that fetal tissue will even cure diabetes. Others claim that fetal tissue research is immoral because it produces an incentive for abortions. How important is fetal tissue research? Is it likely to produce a cure for diabetes? Are there alternatives that avoid ethical concerns?
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