This morning, ViaCyte announced that it is starting a new Practical Cure (PC) trial testing a new device that is designed to better support its encapsulated cells’ ability to produce insulin in patients with T1D. The company’s previous PC trial was paused in 2017 while ViaCyte made improvements to its encapsulation device, called the PEC-Encap.
ViaCyte developed the new version of the PEC-Encap in collaboration with the company that invented Gore-Tex technology. If successful, it has the potential to protect the cells from the T1D autoimmune attack without the need for full-body immunosuppression. This kind of treatment would make pancreas transplants which replace the need for external insulin administration an option for all people with T1D.
Here’s What You Need to Know:
- ViaCyte’s cells are known as “pancreatic progenitor cells.” Derived from an embryonic stem cell line, they are expected to develop into fully functional pancreatic islet cells once implanted into the body.
- The cells are contained within an encapsulation device called PEC-Encap. This device is designed to protect the transplanted cells without the need for immune-suppressing drugs.
- This is not the first time ViaCyte has tested an encapsulation device in people. In 2017, ViaCyte paused its PEC Encap clinical trial when patients’ immune systems rejected the devices.
- The new PEC-Encap devices are the result of a three-year collaboration with W. L. Gore & Associates; they are protected from the immune response by a membrane that improves cell survival within the device.
- The trial will enroll up to 70 people aged 18-65, who have had T1D for at least three years, at research centers in CA, GA, and TX. Patients in the trial will be implanted with the device for one year.
- The company expects to make preliminary data from the trial publicly available in the second half of 2021; the trial is projected to be completed in April 2023.
To read the ViaCyte press release, click here.
If you are interested in signing up for the trial, you can find contact information for all of the recruiting sites here.