Viacyte heterogeneous Beta cell transplant research project

Viacyte, a San Diego company, is pioneering a pilot project with U of Minneapolis and UBC-Vancouver, implanting heterogeneous beta cells issued from embryonic stem cells into patients’ arms:

ViaCyte’s approach is to coax stem cells, which came from a human embryo that wasn’t used for in vitro fertilization, to produce immature pancreatic cells. They are then placed in pouches that are implanted in the arms and lower backs of diabetic patients, where the cells then produce islets that are released into the bloodstream.

The company’s first product was a tightly closed pouch designed to prevent the recipients’ immune cells from entering and attacking the transplanted pancreatic cells. That would prevent patients from needing drugs to suppress their immune systems, which can be potent and cause their own severe side effects.

Bellin said this protection seems to cut the donor cells off from access to oxygen and the patients’ bloodstreams, which limits their ability to produce islets. So ViaCyte’s second product — the one the university is testing — is a pouch with small pores to increase the distribution of islets into the blood.

Patients trying this approach do need immunosuppressive drugs, Bellin said, which is why the trial is only for severe cases.

In my eyes, the requirement for immuno-suppression in the new MO makes this almost worse than the disease.

The good part, though, is that production from stem cells means you don’t need donors anymore: that is a big step forward.


My quotes in the original post address this very point.

I was really disappointed when Viacyte reported that they weren’t seeing vascularization around the encapsulation devices. Especially since Paul Laikind reported at a JDRF event I attended that they had seen some vascularization. I assume they saw it on a few of the study participants but not consistently. Still, it was disappointing.


Because the second trial uses small pores in the pouches that would let the immune system reach the beta cells, I think.

Too bad the first trial did not work.


It’s too bad about the immunosuppression! I’d totally drop by UBC and see if I could take part in the trial if not for that…


I think clinical trials are still underway for the PEC-Encap, but I don’t know if they’re still recruiting. I think they’re hoping that success with the PEC-Direct will help them refine PEC-Encap. Not sure if that’s realistic or not.

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Btw, the direct links for each technology on the company’s web site are:‐encap-vc-01/

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I’ve been watching this company very closely, but there seems to be a bit of a catch-22. Pores too big, good vascular growth but immune kills the cells. Pores too small, protection against immune system, but little to no vascular growth. I’m curious, does anyone know if they used immune suppression in the mouse models?

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My understanding was that the mouse trials were conducted with the PEC-Encap and no immunosuppression. These trials were a success.

They may have also done mouse trials with the PEC-Direct and immunosuppresion.

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3 posts were split to a new topic: The Cellular Networking, Integration and Processing (CNIP) Project

The cure I am betting on is this:

[EDIT] Post split to support thread split.