Vertex has reported promising 90-day results from its synthetic insulin cell therapy. There is potential for this kind of therapy to be curative for Type 1 Diabetes. The company announced that the first patient with Type 1 Diabetes dosed with the therapy, called VX-880, saw their need for insulin disappear almost entirely
Type 1 Diabetes affects nearly 1.6 million Americans currently, and there is not a known cause or preventative treatment.
The patient dosed in the Phase I/II trial of VX-880 was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes over forty years ago. They were injected with a single infusion of the insulin-producing cells and remarkably found that after 90 days they could produce a steady flow of insulin and maintain their insulin levels even after eating.
Before treatment, the patient was receiving 34 units of insulin per day, in addition to regular fasting. Their C-peptide levels were also nearly undetectable. In the year before receiving treatment, the patient had experienced 5 potentially life-threatening hypoglycemic episodes.
The patient was treated with only half of the target dose and was also given immunosuppressant therapy. The results were still highly successful and included improved glycaemic control and a decrease in exogenous insulin requirement.
Vertex’s vice president and chief of cell and genetic therapies called the results of the first patient “unprecedented,” and pointed to the effectiveness of a half-dose as being particularly remarkable.
While the results are still in their early stages, Vertex feels they support the continued progression of VX-880 studies and the potential to trial these encapsulated islet insulin-producing cells without immunosuppressive therapies in the future.
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