The Cure for Diabetes: Cerco Medical Begins Collaboration
With University of Alberta
Leading Research Center to Test New Bioartificial Pancreas
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Cerco Medical LLC, a privately held research company, today announced the start of research in collaboration with Drs. James Shapiro and Jonathan Lakey at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. The University of Alberta is the world's leading islet transplantation research center, last year reporting clinical success in diabetic patients who no longer require insulin. The company and its collaborators have planned large animal studies designed to demonstrate that the Islet Sheet can function for extended periods without immune suppression.
"Edmonton researchers are credited with many of the top advances in islet transplantation," commented Scott R. King, President of Cerco Medical. "We hope to make islet transplantation available to millions more people."
Dr. Shapiro commented, "If the Islet Sheet concept works without significant risk to patients, this could be an incredible advance for islet transplant. Transplant without drugs is the goal of all of us, the dream being to transplant earlier in the course of diabetes, including children one day, to more effectively prevent secondary complications without the risks of immunosuppression. We are pleased to have the opportunity to carefully evaluate the scientific merits of the Islet Sheet approach."
Dr. Shapiro is Director of the Clinical Islet Transplant Program at the University of Alberta. He is a transplant surgeon and lead author of the Edmonton report. Dr. Lakey is Director of the Human Islet Isolation Laboratory at the University of Alberta. He isolated the islets that were used in the study.
The Islet Sheet contains islets of Langerhans protected by a polymer coating which eliminates the need for the immune-suppressing drugs used in the Edmonton Protocol. The Islet Sheet can be retrieved at any time providing a measure of safety unavailable with other technologies. The Company believes that the transplantation of Islet Sheet encapsulated islets will become the treatment of choice for restoring insulin-dependent diabetics to normal health.
Diabetes is a chronic, debilitating autoimmune disease resulting in loss of islets. It is the leading cause of kidney failure, adult blindness and non-traumatic amputations. Type 1 diabetes reduces life expectancy by 15 years and is enormously costly to the health care system.