An in-depth article in the San Diego Reader details the difficulties faced by families with a child who has type 1 diabetes — pricking fingers to test blood sugar levels every three hours, injecting insulin, monitoring glucose intake and worrying constantly. Many of these families are strong advocates for type 1 diabetes research. Looking ahead at potential therapies in development, the executive director of the San Diego chapter of JDRF likened our candidate encapsulation device, Encaptra™, which holds pancreatic precursor cells, to a “shark-proof cages used by underwater photographers.”
From within Encaptra, the precursor cells are expected to differentiate upon implantation, producing mature pancreatic cells that produce insulin and other blood sugar-regulating hormones. Encaptra is designed to allow the hormones to escape, and the body’s immune system can’t get in to destroy the cells.