Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is an incurable autoimmune disease which accounts for roughly 10% of more than 420 million cases of diabetes worldwide. It occurs when the body does not produce enough of the hormone called insulin that allows cells to absorb and use glucose.
Insulin cannot be taken in pill form and has to be injected. Traditionally this required patients to use the vial and syringe method but this is no longer necessary. While the insulin pen does not eliminate the need for a needle, it does have a shorter needle so it looks less scary. The pen also has the added benefit of controlling insulin dosages better. Pens either come with an insulin cartridge already inserted and the pen is discarded once the cartridge is spent or they are reusable and the cartridge is replaced when it runs out
Not all types of Insulin can be used
Not possible to mix two different types of insulin
Available for self-injection only
Wastage of some insulin with each use
An insulin pump is a small, computerized device that delivers insulin continuously throughout the day. It attempts to mimic the normal pancreas's release of insulin, but you must tell the pump how much insulin to inject. It delivers insulin in two ways: a basal rate which is a continuous, small trickle of insulin that keeps blood glucose stable between meals and overnight; and a bolus rate, which is a much higher rate of insulin taken before eating to cover the food you plan to eat.
Risk of skin infections at the catheter site
Risk of Diabetic Ketoacidosis from pump malfunction or absorption problems
Pumps are expensive, plus the continuing cost of supplies
Need to check blood glucose at least 4 times a day
A pancreas transplant is a major surgical procedure to place a healthy pancreas from a deceased donor into a person whose pancreas no longer functions properly. If your pancreas doesn't make enough insulin or your body is unable to make use of the appropriate amount of insulin made by your pancreas, blood sugar levels can rise to unhealthy levels, resulting in diabetes
A functioning pancreas transplant responds to your blood glucose levels by producing an appropriate level of insulin to maintain blood glucose levels within the normal range. This means you no longer need to inject yourself with insulin on a day-to-day basis. However, the main advantage is increased life expectancy and longer kidney transplant function.
Availability of donors for transplant
Possibility of rejection
Risk of failure of the pancreas itself
Need to take immunosuppressive drugs long term to prevent rejection
Drug side effects like high blood pressure, cholesterol and osteoporosis
A Bioartificial Pancreas (BAP) contains pancreatic islets (allogeneic or xenogeneic) or differentiated islets encapsulated within a synthetic biocompatible semipermeable membrane and fully mimics the behavior and function of a healthy pancreas.
Our patented technology uses a hollow fibre membrane that can be used as implantable, immune-competent nanocapsules, containing a biocompatible sheet of encapsulated islets, overcoming the three limiting factors of immunosuppression, rejection and lack of pancreas for implantation.
Immunoisolation is ideally achieved by encapsulating insulin-producing biologic tissue and protecting it with a semipermeable membrane, to prevent tissue destruction by the patient's immune system and dispensing with drug immunosuppression therapy.
Islet encapsulation relieves the patient of lifelong usage of immunosuppressive drugs.
Our BAP technology comprises a Polysulfone (Psf)/TPGS composite hollow fiber membrane that can be used as implantable, immune-competent nanocapsules, containing a biocompatible sheet of encapsulated islets. The inner side of the hollow fiber membrane has pores in the nanometer range, and is responsible for the selective separation of insulin and the rest of the membrane is more porous and has bigger pores which provide support. When liquid is passed through the tube, the wall selectively retains certain constituents and allows others to pass through. We have also successfully created islets from mesenchymal stem cells, which when injected/implanted start secreting insulin and substitute the defective native endocrine pancreas.
Short term studies of the BAP in mouse models have shown the following benefits:
Therefore our technology overcomes the three limiting factors of immunosuppression, rejection and lack of pancreas for implantation. Moreover, the envisaged therapy is a minimally invasive procedure, in which the implant can be injected directly into the abdominal muscles.
We have partnered with the Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen for long term preclinical studies, further development and commercialisation of this technology.
The Steno Diabetes Center has been run as a hospital for more than 89 years, specializing in the treatment, research, prevention of diabetes and in the training of healthcare professionals in the field of Diabetes. Steno was owned by Novo Nordisk A/S and was transferred to the Capital Region on 1 January 2017, to become part of a completely new visionary initiative, Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen (SDCC). Steno is Scandinavia's largest diabetes clinic and treats more than 9,000 people with Diabetes from the Capital Region every year.
In collaboration with Steno, we wish to establish that our technology will work for a longer duration without negative immune responses and other abnormalities. When proven safe and effective, it will have a tremendously positive effect on the quality of life for the 43 million people worldwide suffering from Type 1 Diabetes.