TEL AVIV – An Israeli biotech company is developing an engineered micro-pancreas (EMP) to safeguard transplanted insulin-producing beta cells and eventually cure diabetes, ISRAEL21c reported.
In addition to regulating type 1 diabetes, Betalin Therapeutics’ tissue-engineering invention also has the potential to cure it. The engineers behind the breakthrough believe that if the clinical trials are successful it can also cure severe forms of type 2 diabetes.
In people with type 1 diabetes, the pancreas’ insulin-producing beta cells don’t function, making daily injections or some other form of insulin infusion a necessity. Type 1 patients can also be implanted with donor islets full of healthy beta cells, but scientists haven’t found a way to keep the transplanted cells from failing within a matter of days.
The EMP sustains the levels of glucose-regulated insulin from transplanted beta cells by adding a micro-biological scaffold to the donor islets prior to implantation. Not only does EMP ensure the cells’ survival, it also requires a much smaller number of transplanted islets. “This should translate into the ability to treat a higher number of patients,” says Prof. Eduardo Mitrani of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the engineer behind EMP who also serves on Betalin’s scientific advisory board.
Betalin is now in the processes of submitting data to the FDA in hopes of beginning human trials within the year.