Stem-cell therapy brings hope for type 1 diabetes patients

Stem-cell therapy has shown huge potential in the treatment of type 1 diabetes in high-risk patients, a new clinical study by ViaCyte suggests.

The study on PEC-Direct, a stem-cell-based therapy designed to control blood sugar levels in diabetic patients, was presented at ENDO 2022, the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.

According to SciTech Daily, the research showed that the production of C-peptide in the body increased in patients who received the treatment.

“This research represents the first instance in multiple patients of clinically relevant increases in C-peptide, indicative of insulin production, with a stem cell-based therapy delivered in a device,” according to Manasi Sinha Jaiman, CEO of ViaCyte.

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease that was formerly referred to as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes. The pancreas produces little or no insulin in this situation.

Patients must monitor those levels on a frequent basis with finger sticks, repeat insulin shots, or carry about bulky devices. Furthermore, there is a risk that the insulin shot will mistakenly lower blood sugar levels to dangerous levels.

Per SciTech Daily, the PEC-Direct system is designed to offer a steady, long-term infusion of insulin for blood glucose management. The device is comprised of a pouch containing pancreatic cells derived from stem cells that, when transplanted into the body, grow into insulin-producing cells. The open membrane of the gadget allows blood arteries to develop into it and reach the cells. Patients use immunosuppressive medicines to avoid an immunological response.

The treatment is intended for high-risk type 1 diabetes patients who may be more prone to acute consequences due to variables such as recurring severe low blood sugar or frequent and excessive blood sugar changes that are difficult to regulate, SciTech Daily explains.

“The results suggest stem cell-based replacement therapy has the potential to provide blood glucose control and could one day eliminate the need for injecting or dosing insulin externally,” Jaiman said. “The study provides further proof-of-concept that continued optimization of PEC-Direct has promise as a functional cure for type 1 diabetes.”

ViaCyte is a member of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO).

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