Collaborative clinical trial looks to test pancreatic cell transplant
Newly formed Boston Autologous Islet Replacement Program sets sight on diabetes cure
A new collaboration formed by The Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the Joslin Diabetes Center, Semma Therapeutics and the Dana–Farber Cancer Institute (all MA, USA) hopes to further recent developments in the generation of pancreatic beta cells from stem cells with the aim of translation into a clinical treatment.
The new group, known as the Boston Autologous Islet Replacement Program (BIART), estimates that the first cell transplant will be at least 3 to 4 years away. The initial clinical trial will enrol a small population of patients who have had their pancreas surgically removed due to intractable pancreatitis or similar conditions but have not shown signs of islet autoimmunity. This early trial will test the safety and efficacy of the stem cell-derived beta cells.
"No one institution anywhere has the expertise and technical abilities to make this kind of clinical trial possible," explained Semma Therapeutics founder Doug Melton. "But in the unique Harvard biomedical ecosystem, we are able to bring all the necessary expertise and infrastructure to bear. I cannot begin to express the gratitude I feel to the leaders of Brigham and Women's, Joslin Diabetes Center, and Dana-Farber for the eagerness with which they have embraced this project."