LCT Starts A Phase-II Trial in Argentina
LCT is developing an encapsulated pig islet cell product. The hope is by implanting these cells, people with type-1 diabetes will not need to measure their BG level or inject insulin, and the cells will keep their BG levels in normal range without an external help.
LCT has gotten government permission to start a phase-II trial in Argentina. They expect to dose 8 people in the second half of 2011. Each person will get to implants about 3 months apart. LCT has already run a phase-I trial in Russia, and a phase-II trial in New Zealand. But together, those trials have treated only 20 people. This trial will bring the number up to 28. Previous results were that one patient was did not need external insulin for a few months, and another was insulin free for a few weeks. Several other patients used less insulin after the implantation, for weeks or months. From my point of view, that's a long way from a cure, but LCT has been working to improve their encapsulation technology and their islet cell processing technology, and research is always about doing better in the future.
Are Pharma Companies Paying Your Doctor?
The guys over at Pro Publica have gotten a hold of several databases of doctors who are being paid by pharmaceutical companies, for various reasons. The companies provided this information to the government, but Pro Publica has also taken it and made an easy to search database. See if your doctor is getting paid for speaking, or for meals, or for any other reason. (Look up names like "Smith" and "Jones" to get a feel for how much money is involved.) I never thought a lunch or two really mattered, but some of these guys are getting more than $35,000 in one year, and that's enough to make you wonder. Or at least make me wonder.
Xcell (Adult Stem Cell Clinic) Shut Down in Germany
Every few months, I get asked about for-profit clinics that offer to cure various aliments (including type-1 diabetes) by injecting people with their own adult stem cells. I'm working on a detailed posting about these clinics, but in the meantime, there is one less clinic to worry about: Xcell, with two locations in Germany, has been shut down.
I definitely got more questions about Xcell then about similar clinics in Mexico, Argentina, Thailand, the Ukraine China or anywhere else. I think being located in Europe gave them an aura of respectability missing from other clinics. Years ago, they announced that they were going to start a clinical trial on type-1 diabetes. I searched diligently, but never found any evidence that the actually had started the study, and certainly no results. But they always had great on-line testimonials from people with type-1 diabetes (and many other illnesses) who they had "helped".
All the views expressed here are those of Joshua Levy, and nothing here is official JDRF or JDCA news, views, policies or opinions.
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