LCT gave a presentation in late 2015 with an update on their "Diabecell" encapsulated cell technology. They have been testing this in people for more than 10 years, and you can see my previous blogging on them here:
The following blog posting covers LCT's history up until about 2008:
LCT uses pig beta cells encapsulated in a proprietary coating, so patients do not need a lifetime of anti rejection drugs.
The new information is from eight patients in a phase-II trial who were followed for about 2.5 years. The trial was done in Argentina. All the patients got two transplants. The first group got a medium dose, and the second group got twice as much. The results are still being analyzed, but the basic results seem to be:
- A1c before the transplant was between 8.5 and 9.5, and afterwards was around 7.5 (for the lower dose group) and 6.5 (for the high dose group).
- At the same time, insulin dose dropped about 10% in the lower dose group, and 25% in the higher dose group.
- They presented data on fewer "unaware lows" and estimates of how much insulin the transplanted beta cells were generating.
I think that these are some of the best results I've seen for encapsulated beta cells, but it is still hard for me to get excited about them. Earlier on, I was hopeful that they could just transplant more cells and get better results, but that does not appear to be happening. Specifically:
- A phase-I trial reported in 2008 that overall insulin usage dropped 24%, and reported two patients went insulin free, one for weeks and the other for months.
- A phase-II trial reported in 2010 that overall insulin usage dropped 30%, but no reports of people going insulin free.
- A phase-II trial reported in 2013 that overall insulin usage dropped 20%, and no reports of going insulin free.
- A phase-II trial reported in 2015 that overall insulin usage dropped 10% and 25% (in different groups), and no reports of going insulin free.
It will be interesting to see how LCT's Diabecell results compare to Viacyte's VC-01 results. Both companies are working on encapsulated beta cell cures, so a head-to-head comparison makes sense when Viacyte's phase-I (40 person) results come out in 2017. Hopefully LCT will have results from a similar number of people by then as well.
This presentation contains a lot of data from several different clinical trials and case studies.
Clinical Trial Record: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01739829
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All the views expressed here are those of Joshua Levy, and nothing here is official JDRF or JDCA news, views, policies or opinions. My daughter has type-1 diabetes and participates in clinical trials, which might be discussed here. My blog contains a more complete non-conflict of interest statement. Thanks to everyone who helps with the blog.