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.