Looking for a different article? Click here to read WORLD FIRST – TRIAL IMPLANT OF ENCAPSULATED ISLETS
JDRF-supported Australian researcher Professor Ann Simpson from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has managed to develop insulin-producing cells from liver cells. In her laboratory studies, these cells release “insulin on demand” in response to changing blood glucose levels.
Excitingly, this research breakthrough in the laboratory has been picked up by an American biotech company called Nuvilex, who has obtained exclusive worldwide rights to begin commercialisation of these cells. Nuvilex is aiming to encapsulate these cells in their own protective barrier, preventing the immune system from destroying these cells.
Nuvilex’s first goal is to test these protected insulin-producing cells in initial animal trials, and then progress to human trials where it is hoped they will function like pancreatic islet cells.
If the Nuvilex trials are successful and the cells become commercially available, people with type 1 diabetes could be freed from depending on daily insulin injections or the use of insulin pumps, as well as the constant need to monitor their blood glucose levels and modify their diets.
For more information, please see the media release from UTS.