A Patent’s Just Been Granted For What Could Be a Functional ‘Cure’ For Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes isn’t an easy disease to put an end to; not only do scientists have to fix the complete lack of insulin being produced by the patient’s own pancreas, but the cells they try to send in to help keep getting destroyed by the immune system. It’s a medical catch-22.
But a US patent has just been approved for what could be the first functional cure for the condition – by combining insulin-delivering cells with technology that allows them to hide from the immune system for years at a time.
The cells are called ‘Melligen cells’, and they can produce, store, and release insulin in response to human blood sugar levels.
University of Technology Sydney (UTS) scientists have been genetically engineering these Melligen cells for years so they can release insulin in order to regulate human blood sugar levels – just like the beta cells that are destroyed by type 1 diabetes are supposed to.
And last year, the team published a paper showing they could reverse type 1 diabetes in mice.
That was great, but those mice were immunocompromised, which meant they didn’t have an immune response. In the human body, the cells would still be attacked on entry. And that’s where this new collaboration comes in.
The UTS scientists have now joined up with US clinical stage biotechnology company PharmaCyte Biotech, who have developed a product called Cell-in-a-Box that can, in theory, encapsulate the Melligen cells and hide them from the immune system. They’ve just patented the combination.
"My team and I are extremely pleased that the US patent for the Melligen cells has b Continue reading