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JDRF partners with LCT to test encapsulated cell replacement therapy for the treatment of diabetes
Date:4/27/2010

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.

Through its Industry Discovery and Development Partnership program, JDRF will support the second part of a Phase II trial in New Zealand of LCT's DIABECELL product; the trial will test the effectiveness of the transplant product when given in higher amounts in people with established and unstable type 1 diabetes who suffer from frequent hypoglycemia and hypoglycemia unawareness an inability to sense when blood sugar is trending dangerously low.

The DIABECELL product comprises encapsulated, insulin-producing pancreatic islets derived from specially bred pigs. They are implanted into the abdomens of people with diabetes through a laparoscopic procedure, and work by sensing blood glucose and secreting insulin in response to high blood glucose levels. The encapsulation technology developed by LCT in DIABECELL does not require immunosuppressant drugs to suppress the rejection of the islets by the immune system.

In addition to assessing the safety of the treatment, the trial will also study whether the transplanted islets improve blood glucose control, reduce hypoglycemic episodes, reduce daily insulin requirements, and improve the quality of life of participants in the trial.

According to Professor Bob Elliott, Medical Director of LCT, early results from the clinical trial, which began in October 2009, showed that the cell implants eliminated hypoglycemia unawareness in one of the trial participants -- a complication that occurs in as many as 2 in 10 people with long-term type 1 diabetes,
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Contact: Joana Casas
mcasas@jdrf.org
212-479-7560
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International
Source:Eurekalert

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