|Islet Sheet Medical LLC was founded in 1995 to create a retrievable bio-artificial pancreas, the Islet Sheet. For three years we worked to invent the methods needed to purify alginate polymer and cast thin sheets that would support islet function in vivo. Our success was crowned with patents on our sheets and methods to make them. We published our findings on the ten criteria needed for success which have become the standard in the field.
In 1998 we began four years work with various academic collaborators to refine Islet Sheet production and demonstrate sheet utility. Collaborators included the University of Cincinnati, University of Chicago, VA Hospital Louisville, and the University of Alberta--Edmonton. The crucial results came in 2000 with the demonstration that the sheets are compatible with implantation in large animals at various sites under the skin and in the peritoneal cavity. Some of these results were published in "Bioartificial Organs III" published by the NY Academy of Sciences in 2001.
In late 2001 it became clear that funding was not available for risky biomedical projects (especially in the field of cell transplantation). Reluctantly we put the Islet Sheet research program on hold and turned to work on other projects. We continued to seek funds from investors and foundations to further the Islet Sheet research program. In 2008 an offer of funding from the Hanuman Medical Foundation coincided with the decision of the University of California – Irvine to hire Jonathan Lakey (formerly of Edmonton) to head islet transplant research. We had worked with Jon while he was as the University of Alberta, and quickly reached anagreement with the University of California on a collaborative research program with Jon Lakey's group in Irvine.
The research program is in the midst of animal studies to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of the Islet Sheet. (See news to see the results published so far.) Our goal is to begin clinical studies as soon as possible.