An Israeli research team announced on Wednesday their claim to have developed a cure for diabetes in the form of an artificial pancreas, according to media reports.
“This is a new way to treat diabetes,” the CEO of Betalin Therapeutics, Dr. Nikolai Kunicher, told The Jerusalem Post.
“Today, you only have ways to manage the disease. This is a cure. The diabetic pancreas has lost the function of secreting insulin and we give it back. The patient should never have to inject insulin into his body again.”
Prof. Eduardo Mitrani of Hebrew University’s Faculty of Science, who developed the technology used by Betalin, explained how the EMP is different from other organ transplants.
“The pancreas is unique in that it functions as a complete autonomous organ, not as single cells, and can therefore be located anywhere in the body,” Prof. Mitrani said.
Betalin’s cure calls for implantation of a bio-artificial pancreas, made up of pig’s lung tissue and insulin-secreting cells.
The implant is designed to connect with the patient’s blood vessels and then measure the body’s sugar level and secrete the quantity of insulin needed to maintain the desired level of blood sugar.
The implant would not require major surgery, but inserted under the skin in an outpatient procedure using local anesthesia.
Clinical trials with human are scheduled to begin within a year. Meanwhile, Betalin has raised $3.5 million and is seeking another $5 million to fund development before the trial begins. The projected cost to the patient, when it eventually gets to market in about five years: about $50,000.