World First: Human Trial Implantation of Encapsulated Islets

In a historic milestone for type 1 diabetes research, a person with type 1 diabetes has received the first ever implant of stem-cell derived islets. JDRF-funded partner Viacyte, a leading US regenerative medicine company,  developed the experimental stem cell therapy, called VC-01™. VC-01 consists of immature stem-cell derived human islet cells, encapsulated in an immunoprotective barrier called the Encaptra™ drug delivery system.  The barrier protects the islet cells from destruction by the immune system, while allowing insulin produced to pass through into the bloodstream.


The encapsulated cells are implanted under the skin while they are still immature, where they develop into insulin-producing islets. In animal studies, the encapsulated cells were able to sense changing blood glucose levels and release insulin as required. If they perform similarly in humans, the cells could essentially “cure” type 1 diabetes, by replacing the function of the islets destroyed in the autoimmune process.

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Mentored Clinical Researcher Fellowships Awarded

JDRF is delighted to announce the recipients of the Australian Type 1 Diabetes Clinical Research Network’s (T1DCRN) prestigious Mentored Clinical Researcher Fellowship Award, worth $30,000 per year for two years.

The Fellowship enables clinician researchers to establish their research career in the field of type 1 diabetes, by supporting one day per week of dedicated research time for involvement in a clinical research project, consistent with the objectives of the T1DCRN. Fellows must be supported by a mentor who is experienced in the field of clinical research.

The recipients, Dr Martin DeBock, Consultant Endocrinologist at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Western Australia, and Dr Bala Krishnamurthy, an Endocrinologist at the St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, are both working on some of the most promising type 1 diabetes research and are being mentored by world leading researchers. Read More