About mkulwiec

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far mkulwiec has created 22 blog entries.

CBS 8 News: JDRF Walk – Taking Steps to Cure Type 1 Diabetes

CBS 8 News in San Diego featured a local walk to raise money for JDRF.  The piece mentioned that some of the funds would support ViaCyte and our efforts to develop and test the VC-01™ product, comprised of an implantable device that holds precursor cells that upon implant in a patient are expected to differentiate to become pancreatic islet cells that produce insulin and other blood sugar-regulating hormones.

ViaCyte CEO Paul Laikind, Ph.D., also appeared in the TV spot.  He explained that the VC-01 product has the potential of freeing type 1 diabetes patients from constantly worrying about their blood sugar levels.  The goal is for the VC-01 product to become a functional cure, monitoring blood sugar and releasing hormones essentially the same way as islets in a normal healthy pancreas would.

Watch the video from CBS 8 News

A First: ViaCyte’s Type 1 Diabetes Treatments Moves into Humans

In late October 2014, ViaCyte implanted the first VC-01 product candidate in a human patient with type 1 diabetes.  As ViaCyte CEO Paul Laikind, Ph.D., put it: “To our knowledge, this is the first time that an embryonic stem cell-derived cell replacement therapy for diabetes has been studied in human subjects.”

The achievement was a culmination of at least 10 years of work by the ViaCyte team, along with collaborators and supporters at the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and the JDRF.

A number of media outlets and organization covered the historic milestone.  While cautious, each expressed optimism and hope for the therapy, a much-needed advance for a chronic disease that disrupts the lives of millions of people.

Read more from:

DiabetesCare: Creating a Unique Environment and Transformative Cell Supply to Re-Ignite Insulin Production interviewed ViaCyte CEO Paul Laikind, Ph.D.  In the piece, Laikind explains that one advantage of using ViaCyte’s PEC-01™ pancreatic precursor cells to treat type 1 diabetes is that, based on animal experimentation, they can mature into islet cells, which produce insulin and other hormones that regulate blood sugar levels.  PEC-01 cells contained within the Encaptra™ drug delivery system, a semi-permeable encapsulation device, together comprise an experimental treatment known as the VC-01™ combination product.

Another advantage of the VC-01 product, Laikind explains, is the potential that patients with the device will not need immunosuppressive medications.  Thanks to the Encaptra device, the patient’s immune system should be prevented from coming into contact with the PEC-01 cells, keeping them safe from destruction.


U-T San Diego: Stem Cell Treatments Surging into Clinic

U-T San Diego Science reporter Bradley Fikes reported from the 2014 Stem Cell Meeting on the Mesa, an annual gathering of stem cell researchers, businesses and investors in San Diego.  He covered a talk given at the meeting by ViaCyte CEO Paul Laikind, Ph.D., who updated the audience on the VC-01™ product.  This experimental treatment for type 1 diabetes combines the Encaptra™ drug delivery system, which is a semi-permeable pouch, and PEC-01™ cells, pancreatic precursor cells derived from human embryonic stem cells.  When implanted, PEC-01 cells are expected to differentiate into pancreatic islet cells that produce insulin and other hormones that regulate blood sugar, while the Encaptra device is designed to protect the cells from immune destruction.

At the meeting, Laikind described VC-01 as a potential “functional cure” for type 1 diabetes, as long as the insulin-producing cells function.  The VC-01 combination product is currently being tested in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial.

Read more in U-T San Diego

Knoepfler Blog: FDA Nod For ViaCyte IND of Diabetes Stem Cell-Based Product

Writing on his popular blog, stem cell researcher Paul Knoepfler, Ph.D., associate professor at UC Davis School of Medicine, shares his excitement that ViaCyte’s investigational new drug (IND) application was accepted by the FDA in August 2014.  The acceptance paved the way for a Phase 1/2 clinical trial to test the safety and efficacy of our VC-01™ treatment for type 1 diabetes in humans.  The VC-01 product uses the implantable Encaptra® pouch that holds ViaCyte’s PEC-01™ cells, which are derived from stem cells and are expected to further differentiate and mature into the full complement of islet cells, including beta cells, upon implant.  The beta cells are able to release insulin into the blood stream, but the pouch is designed to protect them from attack by the immune system.

Knoepfler notes that the initial trials would enroll 40 patients with type 1 diabetes who have little or no insulin-producing beta cell function.  Based on the positive outcomes testing the VC-01 product candidate in animal models, Knoepfler says “I really think there’s some hope here for human patients down the road with this and other similar kinds of approaches.”

Read more on the Knoepfler Blog