PharmaVOICE talked with Dr. Paul Laikind, ViaCyte’s President and CEO, about how the company is developing a unique stem cell-derived therapy for type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes affects an estimated 1.25 million people in the US, many of whom suffer from severe complications including kidney failure, heart disease, and stroke.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. These cells produce insulin in response to high levels of glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream. Improperly regulated blood glucose can cause loss of consciousness, coma, and even death. Replacing insulin through injections helps people with type 1 diabetes manage their blood glucose levels.
ViaCyte is developing PEC-EnCap (also known as VC-01), a first-in-class product candidate designed to provide replacement pancreatic islet cells, including the insulin-producing beta cells. ViaCyte’s product candidate comprises pancreatic precursor cells made from human stem cells and a semi-permeable pouch that protects these cells from the body’s immune system. After the pancreatic precursor cells in the pouch are implanted under the skin, they are designed to mature into functioning pancreatic islet cell types that produce insulin and other blood-glucose regulating hormones. PEC-EnCap is currently being tested in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial, and preliminary results have been promising.
Read more in PharmaVOICE.