In the race to get type 1 pa­tients off in­sulin, fo­cus turns to cell trans­plants and in­sulin-pro­duc­ing stem cells

When Ser­no­va an­nounced in June that five pa­tients with type 1 di­a­betes with se­vere hy­per­glycemia and a com­plete in­abil­i­ty to pro­duce in­sulin were able to come off of in­sulin af­ter re­ceiv­ing its cell trans­plant ther­a­py, it was the lat­est ex­am­ple of promis­ing sci­ence in the type 1 cat­e­go­ry.

Ser­no­va’s treat­ment takes islets — the pan­cre­at­ic cell group that in­cludes be­ta cells, which are re­spon­si­ble for mak­ing in­sulin — from a donor and de­liv­ers them via what the biotech calls a “cell pouch,” a porous and flex­i­ble de­vice about the size of a cred­it card that is loaded with islet cells and im­plant­ed un­der the skin against the ab­domen.

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