Innovative Type 1 Diabetes Approach Licensed to Encellin
Encellin, a San Francisco–based biotechnology company, has obtained exclusive worldwide rights from UC San Francisco for a proprietary cell encapsulation technology aimed at improving physicians’ ability to perform cell transplants without the need for immunosuppressive drugs.
Based on ongoing preclinical trials in animal models, the technology – in the form of a pouch approximately the diameter of a quarter, made of an ultrathin nanoporous membrane – represents a significant advance towards the ability to transplant donated cells without danger of immune rejection or harmful fibrosis at the transplant site, while also ensuring that transplanted cells cannot infiltrate other parts of the body.
Encellin first aims to apply this technology – originally developed in the laboratory of Tejal Desai, PhD, chair of the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences in UCSF’s schools of Pharmacy and Medicine – to treat type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease affecting over 1 million Americans, with over 9,000 young people newly diagnosed each year.
Type 1 diabetes is caused by the loss of the islet cells of the pancreas, which normally secrete the hormone insulin to coordinate the body’s use of blood glucose. The transplantation of functional, insulin-producing pancreatic islet cells from a donor has shown clinical efficacy as a treatment for some people with type 1 diabetes, but – like most transplantation techniques – this treatment requires lifelong immunosuppression to prevent patient immune systems from destroying the donor cells. However, these immuno Continue reading