stem cells

Stem Cell therapy clinical trial for the treatment of Type 1 Diabetes shows interesting initial results

A clinical trial conducted by Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated reported an initial update about its first participant. The study uses VX-880, an investigational stem cell therapy called to create functioning pancreatic islet cells in people with Type 1 diabetes (T1D).

The success of this trial could be a major advancement towards reducing or potentially eliminating the need for supplemental insulin if, in fact, the therapy could enable the body to create its own insulin. This technology could reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental insulin in people with T1D.

The announcement reported that the first patient to receive therapy showed a fasting C-peptide level (a method used to measure insulin production by the pancreas) of 280 pmol/L compared to an undetectable level before treatment. Vertex also reported that the person living with T1D was able to decrease exogenous insulin use by 91% and had an HbA1c improvement from 8.6% to 7.2% after 90 days of treatment.

It is important to note that this is a very early stage of the trial and results are only available for a single participant. The technology also requires the use of immunosuppressants although the company notes that they plan to begin trials of an “encapsulated islet cell program” in 2022 that would potentially eliminate the requirement for immunosuppression.