NEW YORK and SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- JDRF, the world's largest non-profit supporter of type 1 diabetes (T1D) research, and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), California's stem cell agency, announced that they are providing additional funding for the development of a novel stem cell therapy by San Diego-based ViaCyte, Inc.; JDRF and CIRM will each contribute $3 million to further advance the project.
"One of the most important elements in bringing promising therapies to clinical trials is a strong partnership, and that's what we have with CIRM, JDRF, and ViaCyte," said Ellen Feigal, M.D., senior vice president for research and development at CIRM. "Working together, we can help ensure that the most promising therapies stay on course for timely entry into clinical trials. This additional commitment of funding and support by JDRF is a reflection of the hope we all have that this therapy will transform the lives of people with type 1 diabetes."
ViaCyte's innovative product is designed to deliver to patients immature pancreatic progenitor cells developed from a human embryonic stem cell (hESC) line; over time, these cells develop into mature pancreatic cells that are capable of producing pancreatic hormones, including insulin. These cells are encapsulated in a device that isolates the cells from the host but allows free flow of oxygen, nutrients, and other factors, so that the cells can respond to blood glucose and release hormones like insulin while being protected from the patient's immune system. The combination product is designated VC-01. The benefit of such a breakthrough would be the ability to provide a patient with a new source of insulin-producing cells to replace those destroyed by the autoimmune response that is a hallmark of T1D.
"The research being performed b
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