Animal cell transplants to humans approved in Russia

Insulin-producing pig cells coated in seaweed (alginate prevents the immune system from attacking) are injected into people and reduces the need for insulin. In patients with unstable diabetes, DIABECELL can eliminate life threatening episodes of a potentially fatal complication known as hypoglycaemic unawareness; this is when a patient has no awareness when their blood sugar is dropping to dangerously low levels.

DIABECELL is a porcine (pig), insulin-producing cell product for the treatment of Type 1 diabetes. These islet cells are self-regulating and efficiently secrete insulin in the patient’s body. The treatment involves introducing encapsulated porcine cells into the abdominal cavity of the patient in a simple laparoscopic procedure. LCT’s unique proprietary encapsulation technology means that this procedure does not require the use of immunosuppression.

LCT’s Russian clinical trial programme commenced in June 2007 and involved eight patients between 21 and 68 years of age with insulin-dependent diabetes. Each received between one and three implants of DIABECELL with no significant product-related adverse events. Blood samples taken from patients after a 52-week follow-up tested negative for any pig-to-human transmission of diseases. Six of the eight patients showed long-term improvements in blood glucose control as reflected by both reduction in glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c %) levels and reduction of the required daily dose of insulin injections. Two patients discontinued insulin injections entirely for about eight months. The trial was conducted in the Sklifosovsky Research Institute Moscow.

For the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders, the company transplants microencapsulated choroid plexus cells, NTCELL, which delivers beneficial proteins and neurotrophic factors to the brain. LCT’s breakthrough microencapsulation technology, IMMUPEL, enables healthy living cells to be injected into patients to replace or repair damaged tissue without requiring the use of immunosuppressive drugs to prevent rejection. LCT also offers medical-grade porcine-derived products for the repair and replacement of damaged tissues, as well as for research and other purposes.

NTCELL is a choroid plexus cell product with the potential to treat neurodegenerative diseases. These cells help produce cerebrospinal fluid as well as a range of neurotrophins (or nerve growth factors) that have been shown to protect against neuron (nerve) cell death in animal models of disease.

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