The Pharmaceutical Journal interviewed Kevin D’Amour, ViaCyte’s chief scientific officer, in an article that describes several current approaches to producing beta cells as a treatment for type 1 diabetes.
The piece describes our 2008 study in which we introduced pancreatic progenitor cells derived from embryonic stem cells in a mouse model. The cells, implanted at three different sites, differentiated into functional human islet tissue and produced insulin in 92 percent of the mice. In the years since, as the article explains, we went on to develop the Encaptra™ pouch to hold the pancreatic precursor cells, protecting them from autoimmune destruction. We also developed methods for scale-up production of the cells, and now the VC-01TM product candidate (cells plus device) is in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial in humans.
D’Amour is quoted saying that he envisions that ViaCyte’s type 1 diabetes product will one day be available from hospitals — implanted by endocrinologists in a non-invasive procedure.