pamela itkin ansari profilePrincipal Investigator: Dr. Pamela Itkin-Ansari

Disease: Type 1 Diabetes

Research Description: Type I diabetes is caused when the body’s immune system attacks cells in the pancreas that store and release insulin, thereby reducing or eliminating the body’s ability to secrete insulin in response to glucose. There are several ways to treat the chronic disease, including injecting insulin or transplanting cells, which then requires the patient to take anti‐ rejection drugs. Dr. Itkin‐Ansari and her team have previously placed insulin producing cells inside a repurposed, FDA approved encapsulation device that can implanted just under the skin. The device can serve as an “artificial pancreas” without the need for anti‐rejection drugs, and without the need to check the blood glucose levels or inject insulin. The next step is to “freeze‐dry” the loaded capsule, so that it can be shipped to doctors’ offices around the world. This research seeks to perfect the freeze drying process so the insulin producing cells can be woken up just prior to implantation.

CWR funding role: Primary funder

Start date: March 1, 2015

Most recent report: The researchers are currently developing new, proprietary technology for the freeze-drying process.

Anticipated next steps:

→ Data published in a scientific journal and/or presented at a scientific conference 

→ Pre-clinical findings lead to human clinical trial

→ Data leveraged into larger philanthropic or government funding for this treatment

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