People with type 1 diabetes have to inject insulin every day, often up to four or five times per day, to regulate their blood sugar levels. But Professor Ann Simpson and her team at the University of Technology Sydney Centre for Health Technologies has developed insulin producing “Melligen” cells that could do away with needles altogether. By producing, storing and releasing insulin in response to blood sugar levels in the human body, these genetically engineered cells show promise as a possible cure for type 1 diabetes. The team has even secured US patent protection for the cell line from the US Patent and Trademark Office.
“My team and I are extremely pleased that the US patent for the Melligen cells has been granted,” says Simpson. “This takes us a step closer to releasing diabetics from the need to inject insulin daily and, more importantly, protecting them from the debilitating complications of the disease such as blindness, kidney failure and cardiovascular problems.”
The group is now working with US clinical stage biotechnology company PharmaCyte Biotech to commercialise the research, which could benefit millions of diabetics worldwide.
It’s breakthroughs like this, that are the key to our future and why funding for our universities is essential to keep Australia clever.
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