ViaCyte reported positive preliminary results from the Company’s Phase 1/2 clinical trial of PEC-EnCap (also known as VC-01) product candidate. The company is the first to advance an encapsulated islet cell replacement therapy for type 1 diabetes into clinical trials.
NBC interviewed ViaCyte’s President and CEO, Dr. Paul Laikind, who explained that “ViaCyte hopes to turn (type 1 diabetes) into a disease that patients don’t have to think about.”
To achieve this goal, ViaCyte has differentiated pancreatic precursor cells from a human stem cell line. ViaCyte has also developed an encapsulation device to protect the cells from the immune system once implanted into a patient.
Dr. Laikind explains, “These cells are human cells, but they’re not the patient’s cells, so the patient’s immune system would want to remove those cells – attack those cells.”
The encapsulation device is also semi-permeable allowing oxygen and nutrients to flow to the implanted cells, and the diffusion of blood-glucose regulating hormones produced by the cells into the patient’s blood.
Once implanted, the cells are designed to differentiate into the various cell types that make up the pancreatic islet, which could allow for production of insulin and other hormones, such as glucagon, needed to control blood sugar levels.
While discussing preliminary clinical trial results, Dr. Laikind told Xconomy that “Three months after implantation, the cells are surviving, they are proliferating…the device is vascularized, and they are differentiating.”
Xconomy also interviewed Derek Rapp, president and CEO of JDRF, who said that these results “move us closer to our goal of a world without type 1 diabetes.”
Randy Mills, president of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine told California Stem Cell Report that “the latest clinical data from ViaCyte are very encouraging and a clear sign of progress.”