New Transplant Technique Restores Natural Insulin Production in Type 1 Diabetes
MIAMI, FL – September 9, 2015 – The Diabetes Research Institute (DRI), a Center of Excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, announced today that the first patient in its clinical trial has been free from insulin injections in record time following the implantation of islet cells within a biological scaffold. The patient, Wendy Peacock, 43, from San Antonio, TX, underwent the minimally invasive procedure on August 18, 2015, and is now producing her own insulin naturally for the first time since being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 17. In this pilot study, DRI researchers are testing a new transplant technique for insulin-producing cells, building upon decades of progress in clinical islet transplantation. This trial is an important first step toward the development of the DRI BioHub, a bioengineered mini-organ that mimics the native pancreas to restore natural insulin production in people with type 1 diabetes.“The first subject in our Phase I/II pilot BioHub trial is now completely off insulin with an excellent glucose profile. These are the best post-transplant results we've seen in an islet recipient," said Camillo Ricordi, MD, director of the DRI and the Stacy Joy Goodman Professor of Surgery, Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Miami Miller School. Dr. Ricordi also serves as director of the DRI’s Cell Transplant Center. “This was the first tissue engineered islet transplant using a ‘biodegradable scaffold’ implanted on the surface of the omentum. The technique has been designed to minimize the inflammatory reaction that is normally observed when islets are implanted in the liver or in other sites with immediate contact to the blood. If these results can be confirmed, this can be the beginning of a new era in islet transplantation. Our ultimate goal is to include additional technologies to prevent the need for life-long anti-rejection therapy," Dr. Ricordi added.