as in previous transplant trials. In a small
human study, the device has been proven
safe, and the cells are able to survive,
produce insulin, and link up naturally to the
blood system - a very important first step."
JDRF is helping to fund the next human
clinical trial about to be undertaken in the
US. Previous research has been done
in Canada. How permanent the implant
works will depend on how long the cells
last. Says Toleikis, "We are still learning
about that. The device is implanted,
then there is a wait for a period of twoto-four weeks while it starts to develop
the tissue-lined chambers with the blood
supply. Then the cells are transplanted.
They will start release releasing insulin
into the bloodstream. Cell Pouch islets
are glucose responsive, meaning that
the cells that produce insulin have a
mechanism inside that reads glucose
levels and they will then release insulin
into the blood system if glucose is high.
They turn on or off according to glucose
levels and are much more accurate than
any CGM-and-insulin pump combination.
We are aiming for patients to be making
their own insulin again and for no insulin
injections or infusion pumps or CGM to
While human donor islets are great,
there is a need for an unlimited supply of
cells. There are two types of stem cells.
First are progenitor cells, which develop
in the body over time. Then there are fully
differentiated cells. These can function
straightaway. Sernova is assessing the
best technologies for the Cell Pouch.
These cells can provide an unlimited
supply to treat millions of people.
"If our technologies prove successful,"
says Toleikis, "There should be fewer
doctor visits, far fewer side-effects thereby
reducing the real cost of diabetes in both
human and financial terms."
*Although this is well documented, this specific
information was taken from a page on the website
The Edmonton Protocol: Researchers
at the University of Alberta in Edmonton,
Canada. These scientists have used a
procedure called the Edmonton Protocol
to treat patients with Type 1 diabetes who
have severe hypoglycaemia unawareness.
In this procedure, researchers use
specialized enzymes to remove islets
from the pancreas of a deceased donor.
For an average-size person (70 kg),
a typical transplant requires about 1
million islets, equal to two donor organs.
Because the islets are extremely fragile,
transplantation occurs immediately after
they are removed. The surgeon uses
ultrasound to guide placement of a small
plastic tube (catheter) through the upper
abdomen and into the liver. The islets are
then injected through the catheter into
the liver. It takes some time for the cells
to attach to new blood vessels and begin
releasing insulin. Immunosuppressive
(anti-rejection) drugs are needed to
keep the transplanted islets functioning.
Researchers do not fully know what longterm effects
these drugs may have. More
research is needed to answer questions
about how long the islets will survive and
how often the transplantation procedure
will be successful. (American Diabetes
Glucose responsive technology:
The cells that produce insulin have a
mechanism inside that reads glucose
levels and they will then release insulin into
the blood system if glucose is high. They
are glucose responsive as they turn on or
off according to glucose levels.
Islet cells: The pancreatic islets, or
islets of Langerhans, are the regions of
the pancreas that contain its hormoneproducing
cells, discovered in 1869 by
pathological anatomist Paul Langerhans.
Microencapsulation: A microcapsule is
a small sphere with a uniform wall around
it. The material inside the microcapsule is
referred to as the core, internal phase, or
fill, whereas the wall is sometimes called
a shell, coating, or membrane. It is mainly
used to increase the stability and life of the
product being encapsulated.
Regenerative medicine: a branch of
translational research in tissue engineering
and molecular biology which deals with
the "process of replacing, engineering
or regenerating human cells, tissues or
organs to restore or establish normal
function". (Wikipedia). This branch of
medicine includes stem cell research.