A San Diego biotech company believes it has found a possible cure for Type 1 diabetes.
The La Jolla-based company, ViaCyte, in conjunction with Johnson & Johnson, is testing a stem cell treatment to cure those with the life-impacting hormonal disorder.
ViaCyte is aiming to eliminate rigorous insulin treatment and glucose testing by engineering a type of stem cell that produces insulin and other hormones that regulate sugar levels.
“These cells are human cells, but they’re not the patient’s cells, so the patient’s immune system would want to remove those cells – attack those cells,” said ViaCyte CEO Paul Laikind.
A team of 60 employees, led by Laikind, first tested the stem cell implantation on animals, which saw success.
Then, testing turned to humans. On Thursday, the company announced a breakthrough: after months inside a human, they extracted the implantation to find the cells not only survived, but they did exactly what they were intended to do.
“We’re on the right track. I think there is a cure in sight,” Laikind said.
Developers could not pinpoint an exact timeline for the product, but said it was in the years, not decades.