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Cousin Eugene on Diabetes

My mom forwarded along an article with a number of quotes from my cousin Eugene on the experimental diabetes treatment his company is working on…

San Diego company studies stem cell implant as a Type 1 diabetes treatment
(Amber Dance, LA Times, 2011 May 30)

A pouch full of brand-new cells may one day reduce the need for people with Type 1 diabetes to take daily insulin shots.

ViaCyte Inc. of San Diego has already used its technique to cure diabetes in hundreds of mice, says Eugene Brandon, one of the company’s directors. ViaCyte hopes to begin human trials of its implants, which are made from embryonic stem cells, by 2013, aided by $26 million in grants and loans from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, the state’s stem cell funding agency.

The treatment is aimed at people with Type 1 diabetes, who typically fall ill as children or young adults when their bodies attack the insulin-producing beta islet cells in the pancreas. Type 1 diabetes affects between 1 million and 3 million Americans.

ViaCyte’s plan is to slip a an envelope filled with pancreatic cells under the skin. These pancreatic cells would turn into beta islet cells.

“We’re essentially creating a replacement pancreas,” Brandon says.

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