Collaboration explores how stem cells could change the need for insulin
Saturday, 19 January 2019
The Australian Foundation for Diabetes Research (AFDR) has entered into an arrangement with Israeli company Kadimastem to explore overcoming the need for insulin administration in people with type 1 diabetes.
The AFDR has bioengineered a device that when seeded with insulin-producing cells and implanted in diabetic animals normalizes blood glucose levels for up to 3 months.
Kadimastem has developed a way of differentiating human embryonic stem cells into insulin-producing cells that secrete insulin in response to glucose.
The two companies have agreed to seed the Kadimastem cells in the AFDR device and implant this into diabetic recipients, initially animals, and subsequently humans. Scientists in Australia and Israel are now actively engaged in the pre-clinical component of this project, which will take place initially in Sydney, and subsequently in Israel. It is anticipated that a human trial will take place in both countries.
The Australian research is taking place at The University of Sydney, with the involvement of The Queensland University of Technology, where the 3D printing of the scaffold used in the device, is carried out. The Israeli research is occurring at Kadimastem’s headquarters near the Weizmann Institute.
The intellectual property associated with the device is the subject of a patent, which was applied for in October 2016. The national phase of the application is scheduled to be entered into in April 2019.
The researchers are excited by this collaboration to address a serious and growing problem, which affects at least 120,000 Australians and 21 million people worldwide, many of them children.