At the American Diabetes Association 82nd annual Scientific Sessions, Vertex Pharmaceuticals released new data from a trial of two participants receiving a stem cell-derived beta cell therapy for Type 1 diabetes called VX-880. They claim it has the potential to become a “functional cure” for Type 1 diabetes, meaning that while recipients would technically still have a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes, they might not require insulin to manage their glucose levels.
In the first phase of the trial, two participants were each given half the dose of beta cells that Vertex estimated would be required. The results showed astonishing improvements in A1C, time in range, and reduction in insulin dose for each participant.
Those who receive VX-880 must continually take immunosuppressants to prevent the body’s immune system from rejecting the new beta cells, and because of the risks of infection associated with immunosuppressants, only those with severe hypoglycemia unawareness have been eligible to be candidates for this initial research, as they have the most to gain from this type of therapy.
Vertex plans to expand the trial in future to 16 total participants in three phases, and additional studies would then need to follow, with the company then needing to submit an application to the FDA before it can be finally approved for use.
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