Thursday, May 19, 2016

Research In The News (May)

This blog posting covers a couple of different topics, but starting with a piece of bad news:

Perle Biosciences Ends A Phase-II Trial of a Combination Cure

In November 2015 I blogged on a clinical trial by Perle Biosciences testing a combination of Cyclosporine and Omeprazole.  You can read the details here:
Unfortunately,  that trial was listed as "Prematurely Ended", but I'm not sure exactly when.  There hasn't been an official press release on the trial, but JDCA quoted Perle Biosciences's president as saying the trial was stopped because "Enrollment was disappointing in Europe and we are planning to move all studies to the U.S."

Of course, I'm hopeful that they do start a trial in the US, and soon.  They are working with a combination of drugs: one of which stops the autoimmune attack and the other regrows beta cells. Both are already approved in the US (one is over the counter).  So you can see why this is an exciting treatment.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time Perle has had problems starting a study.  Prior to starting this European study, Perle filed paperwork to start two studies in the US.  This paperwork languished for over two years and the American studies never did start.   A parallel effort in Europe did led to this study, which has now been ended.

JDCA Coverage:

Not In Human Trials: Stem Cells From Self

Researchers were able to create beta cells from stem cells, the stem cells having been created from skin cells of people with type-1 diabetes.  This might be important for a couple of reasons.  First, these cells could be used to test new drugs.  Many people have noticed (especially in the world of type-1 diabetes) that treatments which work on mice often don't work on people.  This is a way to test treatments on beta cells similar to a type-1 diabetic's actual beta cells.  Second, these cells could be used in transplants.  But remember, that only solves half the transplant problem.  Transplanted beta cells have two problems: the body's good immune system is trying to kill them because they are foreign and the body's bad immune system is trying to kill them because they are beta cells.  Since these cells are from the patient's own body, they will not have the first problem, but might still have the second problem.

To the best of my memory, previous reports of making beta cells from stem cells always involved the use of 3rd party stem cells (ie. the stem cells did not originate from the person who would eventually get the beta cells).  So this is a step forward in that regard.

This is animal research only right now, but could get into human trials in 3-5 years, which would then take an additional 10-15 years to become generally available.  That is, assuming it is successful.

Press Release:

Stepping Back from Artificial Pancreas Coverage

I've decided to scale back my coverage of artificial pancreas research.  This is for two reasons:
  1. Because limited functionality Artificial Pancreas devices are already available from Medtronic now in Europe (the 640G) and in the United States (the 530G), and because an all-but-meal Artificial Pancreas device (the 670G) is planned for release in both places in the next few years, there is a lot of "regular" news coverage on Artificial Pancreas developments.  I do not think I'm adding a lot of value to Artificial Pancreas research reporting.  To be blunt: DiabetesMine, diaTribe, ASweetLife, and similar web sites are doing such a good job publicising AP progress, I don't feel like I'm needed in that area.
  2. Because there is so much progress being made, on so many different Artificial Pancreas fronts, the avalanche of information is overwhelming me.  I just can't keep up.
Obviously, these are both good reasons to stop coverage.  I'm absolutely confident that a full Artificial Pancreas will be available in the United States in a few years, and I'd rather spend my time following research that is less certain, and harder to interpret.

If you are desperately in need of an AP update, read these:

My Internet World

I use Blogger, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, but I divide up my internet world like this: The blog is very specifically focused on clinical trials aimed at curing type-1 diabetes. If that is what you care about, then either follow the blog or sign up for mail notifications when a new entry is posted. (There is a field in the upper right hand corner of the blog for that.)  My twitter covers type-1 diabetes more broadly and also some non-diabetes issues which are important to me.  It is more than half type-1 and less than half other issues.   I try to keep LinkedIn very strictly for work related stuff, and Facebook for family and friends.  So if you are linked with me either on LinkedIn or Facebook, but only care about diabetes news, then you'd probably do better to either sign up for emails from my blog or link with me on Twitter.

Joshua Levy
publicjoshualevy at gmail dot com
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.

1 comment:

Bruno said...

Joshua , thanks for the news.
I suggest that the next publication you talk about the VC- 01 ( ViaCyte ) . As we know, the tests are being carried out on humans !