10 Aug Stem Cell Factory Opens Door For Trials of Personalized Diabetes Treatment
In a step that could lead to a new diabetes treatment, several Boston-area hospitals have teamed up with the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and biotech Semma Therapeutics to make personalized cell-based therapies and organize clinical trials.
It is one of several initiatives around the country aimed at manufacturing cell-derived treatments, as the hope for such therapies creates a demand for the production of the cells.
In patients with type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks the pancreatic cells that produce insulin, called beta cells. Doctors have for years transplanted beta cells from dead donors into patients, but the supply is insufficient for the millions of people with type 1 diabetes, and patients’ bodies sometimes reject the donor cells.
The new program, officially called the Boston Autologous Islet Replacement Program, could provide enough high-quality beta cells needed to treat patients in upcoming clinical trials. And the cells that will be transplanted into these volunteers will be derived from their own blood cells, cutting the risk of rejection.