16 February 2011 -- Two international charitable foundations, New Zealand-based Cure Kids and U.S.-based Children with Diabetes Foundation, have each pledged to provide US$140,000 to fund the final two patients in a Phase II clinical trial in New Zealand that has the potential to transform the treatment of Type 1 diabetes.
The trial is testing DIABECELL as a treatment for Type 1 diabetes and has been developed by Living Cell Technologies, an Australian company domiciled in New Zealand. DIABECELL is designed to help normalise the lives of people with unstable Type 1 diabetes, especially those suffering from life-threatening episodes of unaware hypoglycaemia. Tiny DIABECELL microspheres containing live islet cells are implanted into a patient's abdomen using a simple laparoscopic procedure.
Once implanted, DIABECELL works by self-regulating and efficiently secreting insulin in response to the patient's changing glucose levels. DIABECELL islets are protected from the body's immune response by LCT's breakthrough proprietary encapsulation technology, so DIABECELL patients do not require any immunosuppression.
DIABECELL was discovered by LCT's Medical Director and founder Professor Bob Elliott when he was working as a paediatrician and in response to treating a two year old boy with Type 1 diabetes. This event began his journey to find a cure for diabetes in children.
Vicki Lee, CEO of Cure Kids said: "We've been closely monitoring and watching the work of LCT and have been very impressed with the outcome of the research to date. We are strong supporters of the company's efforts to find an effective treatment for this life-threatening disease, and share Professor Elliott's vision to make this available to children and adults alike."
Sonia Chritton, President of Children with Diabetes Foundation added: "We view this contribution as a critical part of our role in supporting families and people living with diabetes globally. Children with Diabetes is anxiously awaiting the results of LCT's Phase II clinical trials. We are happy to provide support for a complete examination of the DIABECELL dose ranges. This is critical for determining the dose that delivers optimal patient benefit. LCT is the world leader in xenotransplantation, offering hope for the many people suffering from Type 1 diabetes."
Prof. Bob Elliott, LCT's Medical Director and founder added: "These grants will allow LCT to complete the dose-finding part of our research as we seek the dose regimen that provides the optimal patient benefit. These two patients will join two others, each receiving an implant of DIABECELL at a dose of 5,000 IEQ/kg. This will complete our exploration to determine the minimum effective dose."
"Both of these leading charitable foundations are focused on diseases that afflict children. Having the support of these foundations who understand better than anyone the need for new and improved treatments for Type 1 diabetes is very satisfying and a validation of the progress LCT has made with DIABECELL. These foundations appreciate that the research being conducted today offers hope for our children in the future. We are very thankful for their support."
To date, twelve of the approved New Zealand patients with unstable insulin dependent diabetes have received this ground-breaking treatment, which has been shown to safely improve diabetes management and reduce or eliminate episodes of life-threatening low blood glucose levels. The dramatic results to date show DIABECELL's ability to ameliorate this serious complication of diabetes, known as hypoglycaemic unawareness, is an important potential benefit to patients.
LCT's current New Zealand Phase II trial will be concluded after the treatment of these two patients and their subsequent evaluation. This signifies an exciting and significant milestone for LCT and takes the transformational treatment for diabetes one step closer to helping the millions of people worldwide with the disease.
The first four patients in the Phase II trial received one implant of DIABECELL at a dose of 10,000 islet equivalents per kilogram body weight (IEQ/kg). A second group of four patients has received a higher dose of 15,000 IEQ/kg. In the third group of two patients, a high dose of 20,000 IEQ/kg was administered. The fourth group of four patients will receive the dose of 5,000 IEQ/kg.
For further information: www.lctglobal.com
At the Company:
Ms Susanne Clay
Chief Business Officer, Living Cell Technologies Ltd.
Tel: +64 9 270 7954
Mobile: +64 21 418 833
At Cure Kids:
Ms Vicki Lee
Chief Executive Officer
Tel: +64 (0)9 370 0280
At The Children with Diabetes Foundation:
Ms Sonia Chritton
Tel: + 001 303 475 4312
Media and investor enquiries:
NZ and Australia:
Tel: +61 3 9866 4722
Mobile: +61 417 382 391
Tel: +61 2 9237 28700
About Living Cell Technologies - www.lctglobal.com
Living Cell Technologies (LCT) is developing cell-based products to treat life threatening human diseases. The Company owns a biocertified pig herd that it uses as a source of cells for treating diabetes and neurological disorders. For patients with Type 1 diabetes, the Company implants lead product DIABECELL, microencapsulated islet cells, so that near-normal blood glucose levels may be achieved without the need for administration of insulin or at significantly reduced levels. The Company entered clinical trials for its diabetes product in 2007. For the treatment of Parkinson's disease and other neurological disorders, the company transplants microencapsulated choroid plexus cells, NTCELL, which delivers beneficial proteins and neurotrophic factors to the brain. LCT's breakthrough microencapsulation technology, IMMUPEL, enables healthy living cells to be injected into patients to replace or repair damaged tissue without requiring the use of immunosuppressive drugs to prevent rejection. LCT also offers medical-grade porcine-derived products for the repair and replacement of damaged tissues, as well as for research and other purposes.
About Cure Kids - www.curekids.org
Cure Kids (previously Child Health Research Foundation) was founded by Rotary in New Zealand and established over 30 years ago to address the lack of research into the life-threatening childhood diseases and conditions affecting New Zealand children and their families. Since then, Cure Kids has invested over $25 million in medical research. This research has helped save thousands of young lives and has improved the quality of life for thousands more children.
About The Children With Diabetes Foundation - www.cwdfoundation.org
The Children With Diabetes Foundation was founded by a group of parents of children with diabetes, who want a cure for diabetes. The executive board consists of all parents of children with diabetes. CWD is 100% volunteer run, so all money donated goes directly to research. The CWD team has a vast background in research, science and diabetes, and is committed to finding a cure for diabetes. The mission of the Children with Diabetes Foundation is to fund human clinical trials leading to cure and prevention of Type 1 diabetes. "We are the venture capitalists of diabetes research, getting new, clinically relevant, innovative research off the ground."