Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a metabolic disorder, cause usually by a combination of hereditary and environmental factors, and resulting in abnormally high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia). DM results following impaired insulin production by the pancreatic islet cells. The most common types of the disease are type-1 DM (T1DM) and type-2 DM (T2DM).
In T1DM, the onset of the disease follow an autoimmune attack of beta cells thus causing a severe reduction in beta cell mass. In T2DM, the pathogenesis involves insulin resistance, insulin deficiency and enhanced gluconeogenesis, while late progression stages eventually lead to beta cell failure and a significant reduction in beta cell function and mass. Thus, both T1DM and late-T2DM result in marked hypoinsulinemia, reduction in beta cell function and mass, leading to severe secondary complications, as myocardial infarcts, limb amputations, neuropathies and nephropathies and even death.
Currently, the only available treatment modality for T1DM and late-T2DM is insulin infusion (injection, pumps or patches). However, these treatments do not succeed in preventing or delaying disease related severe and lethal complications.
It is commonly accepted that the ideal therapy for IDDM (Insulin Depended Diabetes Mellitus) patients is beta cell replacement.
There are three essential steps toward developing a curative beta cell replacement treatment:
- A source of beta cells must be identified;
- The patient’s immune system must be convinced not to attack those cells; and
- The cells must be delivered into a suitable location in the body so they can exert effective control over blood glucose.
Orgenesis is developing a therapeutic technology that overcomes these three preconditions. The technology involves the use of a patient’s own mature tissue to generate functional insulin producing autologous cells by inducing developmental redirection.