Diabetes drug shows promise in trials

Last updated 12:05 23/11/2012

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Living Cell Technologies has announced encouraging results from the latest clinical trial of its diabetes treatment, developed through Auckland Island pigs housed in Southland.

The trial, taking place in Argentina, is testing the company's Diabecell treatment, which is designed to reduce the risk of unaware hypoglaecemia, or a sudden drop in blood sugar levels, a side-effect of intensive treatment with insulin replacement in patients with Type 1 diabetes.

The Argentinian trial showed patients treated with Diabecell had reduced unaware hypoglaecemia events, a reduction in insulin doses required and blood glucose levels, the company said.

The trial split patients into two groups, with those treated with a higher dose of Diabecell receiving greater benefit.

The third phase, called Phase IIb, of trials is now beginning. Twenty patients in Argentina will receive two Diabecell injections at the higher dosage 12 weeks apart.

The company still hoped to launch Diabecell on the market by 2016, it said.

Type 1 diabetes sees destruction of insulin-producing cells in the human pancreas, leading to problems controlling blood sugar levels.

In the treatment, pancreatic cells from the Auckland Island pigs are injected into the patient's abdomen to boost insulin production and regulate blood glucose levels.

The pigs are used because their genetic and geographic isolation means they are free from the infections carried by humans and other animals.

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- The Southland Times

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