NPR item on T1 and insulin implant

NPR item regarding T1 insulin implant idea. Interesting and as always for the last decades I’m sure we’re only a few years away from a cellular cure…

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I was part of the ViaCyte stem cell study here in San Diego. 2 years and 8 implants. It was the first group and it was just the safety and procedure step. It is amazing how hard theses studies are and how much money is spent on them. I am very sad to say, it didn’t go well. I know they will figure this out but wow, it’s going to take some time. I always sounds so easy but it really isn’t easy. I know they are moving forward using autoimmune drugs and a device that has holes in it. Doesn’t solve the problem for most of us, but if they can actually get the cells to grow and make insulin, that means it can happen if they can fix the problem of getting the body to attach to it with a blood supply without the antibodies attacking first. Sounds simple, but it will be a long time to figure this one out. I will say that my cells looked good, I was on autoimmune drugs for short period of time. Maybe if it had been longer, the body would not have attacked it. Who knows? The joys of clinical trials. I do think this will be the answer but it will be a long time.


I applied for that study but because I don’t live there I couldn’t even be considered. Sorry to hear that it didn’t work well. As far as I know Jason turner is the only type one to receive an implant who has been off of insulin- completely for 9 years or more now. He had two islet cell transplants in Winnipeg and I think he has to take anti rejection drugs. What type of drugs were you on to try to stop the autoimmune attack?

I was only on the drugs for the first month and it was a mixture of 5 different autoimmune drugs and anti-inflammatory drugs. But all very low doses just to see what might happen. The key problem from a very unscientific person is that the blood vessels couldn’t attach to give those beta cells the nutrients they needed to stay alive. The device did keep the antibodies out which is great but the problem is feeding the cells. So this next study is kind of the same device but with holes in it that will allow the blood vessels to attach but the antibodies can also get in. Which is why the patients will be on anti rejection drugs for the length of the study (2years?) I may think about doing it again but the big if would be am I going to get enough cells to actually produce insulin. (First study, there wasn’t enough to make any, it was just for safety and procedure issues). I mean if I am going to be on all those drugs, there has to be a pay off. Just think now diabetes. No insulin, no carb counting no worrying about exercise. After 47 years I might but I will let them do a few more and see how things go. As I said, this is going to take a long time and a lot of money. But I do keep hoping!

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There are implantable capsules containing insulin-releasing cells which perfectly shield their contents from the immune system, so no immunosuppressives are needed. The only problem with them is that they limit the oxygen supply within the capsules excessively, so some additional bioengineering work is necessary to prolong the survival of their contents, though they are in principle refillable. It makes no sense to use immunosuppressives to treat diabetes, since their side-effects, such as carrying a 30% risk of solid organ cancer after 10 years, are worse than uncontrolled diabetes itself.

Thanks for doing it. :blush: I hope it does come to something. I guess if you have no bad side effects it might be worth it. I’d prefer not to be on anti rejction drugs. Although I’m on one right now which is helping me- restasis. I hope they figure out a way to keep the beta cells alive without letting in antibodies. Or a way to kill the antibodies off for good. Of course then we’d be cured-maybe.