ViaCyte, a beta cell technology company funded by JDRF, has been awarded a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase II Award from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to support the further development of its work. In the Phase II effort, ViaCyte will continue research into stem cell-derived beta cells for the treatment of Type 1 diabetes.
JDRF, which has funded beta cell replacement research since 2004, when ViaCyte was known as CyThera, says: “Initially, we wanted to look for ways to derive a stem cell line capable of giving rise to several different cell types. One of which, developed by ViaCyte, is termed CyT49. JDRF also funded the preclinical and clinical studies of ViaCyte’s PEC-01, which is designed to mature into islet tissue in humans, including glucose-responsive insulin-secreting beta cells. JDRF celebrates this new line of funding for ViaCyte, which may lead to commercialisation of this innovative technology.”
According to JDRF, “ The shortage of donor beta cells and the need for strong immunosuppressive drugs to prevent cell destruction make beta cell transplantation an impractical solution for most people. JDRF is heeding the call, developing beta cell replacement technologies that are capable of restoring glucose control and delivering long-term independence without suppressing the body’s immune system and the ability to fight infections. ViaCyte is moving another step forward in the development of their system, and the technology will hopefully be approved in the coming years.”
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