β-Cell therapy: the diabetic patients’ « grail »
25 Million type 1 diabetes patients are living without β-cells, destroyed by their own immune system.
Today, it is already possible to engineer β-cells from stem cells. The real challenge is effectively implant β-cells for long term.
β-cell therapy consists in the administration of living cells to diabetic patients to restore glycemic control.
Since 1980’s, it is possible to transplant Langerhans islets taken from the pancreas of a deceased donor, but despite health authorities’ approval, this technique is restricted to very limited population due to remaining issues:
- Rarity of donors
- The need of immunosuppressive drugs – to avoid the foreign cells to be rejected by immune system – is increasing the risk of infections and certain cancers.
Recent progress in Stem Cells is going to solve the limitation of donors and enlarge the treatment to a larger population of patients.
Innovative Scaffold Platform for Pancreatic Stem Cell Therapy
The program has been initiated with human Langerhans islet to achieve the proof of concept of a safe, efficient and easily transplantable implant. The next step is to extend the application to stem cells avoiding strong limitation of the limited number of donors.
Academic collaboration has been established with the research team of Professor François Pattou (DiabInnov®, Inserm Lille®, France), a worldwide expert in human Langerhans islet transplantation and animal models. Preliminary results obtained during this collaboration are promising. A patent application is filed.
Our objective is to design a hydrogel scaffold to host and protect these β-cells.
Professor François Pattou (UMR1190 Translational Research for Diabetes Director, INSERM, University Hospital of Lille in France) indicated recently:
“We strongly believe that cell therapy has a great future for the treatment of Type 1 if the limitations of cadaveric islets source and the need of immunosuppressant drugs can be addressed. Impressive advances have been made over the past few years in the differentiation of human stem cells toward functional insulin secreting cells. So far, immunoisolation devices implanted with insulin secreting cells, proved to be disappointing in clinical trials. The scaffold invented by Adocia offers promising features to overcome this medical challenge.”
Adocia aims to obtain proof-of-concept in large animal in 2021.