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New stem cell-based therapy for Type 1 diabetes promises hope

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New stem cell-based therapy for Type 1 diabetes promises hope
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Toronto: Scientists claim to have developed a stem cell-based treatment to help Type-1 diabetes patients to regulate their blood sugar levels. The therapy claims to replace the insulin producing beta cells that the Type 1 diabetic people lack, IANS reported.

The therapy includes placing a small implant, dubbed VC-02, which contains millions of lab-grown pancreatic islet cells, which originate from a line of pluripotent stem cells.

"This is a significant step toward a functional cure for type 1 diabetes," said David Thompson, principal investigator at the Vancouver trial site, clinical professor of endocrinology at University of British Columbia (UBC)

"For the first time, a stem cell-based device can reduce the amount of insulin required for some trial participants with type 1 diabetes. With further refinement of this approach, it's only a matter of time until we have a therapy that can eliminate the need for daily insulin injections entirely," he added.

The researcher findings were published in the journal Nature Biotechnology. It was based on a multicentre clinical trial for an experimental cell therapy developed by US biotechnology company ViaCyte. The therapy is clinically tested in Canada.

A device is developed, which is approximately the size of Band-Aid. It is not thicker than a credit card and is implanted just beneath the skin. The device is expected to provide regulated supply of self-sustaining insulin.

"Each device is like a miniature insulin-producing factory," said co-author Timothy Kieffer, a professor within the departments of surgery and cellular and physiological sciences at UBC, and past chief scientific officer of ViaCyte.

"The pancreatic islet cells, grown from stem cells, are packaged into the device to essentially recreate the blood sugar-regulating functions of a healthy pancreas. This may have tremendous benefits over transplant of scarcely available donor-derived cells, given that we can create a virtually limitless supply."

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TAGS:HealthdiabetesType 1
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