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$5M from CIRM to develop novel stem-cell derived treatment for diabetes.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., September 12, 2016 -- Semma Therapeutics has received a $5 million grant from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to develop personalized cell therapy for the treatment of diabetes.

Diabetic patients' own cells will be collected, transformed first into stem cells and then differentiated into stem-cell derived pancreatic islets (SC-islets) to use as an investigational cell therapy for diabetes.

The worldwide diabetes epidemic takes a large toll on individual patients, families, and communities, and significantly impacts patient quality of life, increasing risk for serious health complications and early mortality.

The transplantation of human cadaveric islet cells into patients with diabetes has proven to be an effective treatment for the disease, with a substantial number of patients achieving multi-year insulin independence.

However, cadaveric islets are scarce and variable in quality, and patients must undergo lifelong immunosuppression to receive these allogeneic islets.

"The grant from CIRM funds a program designed to overcome these challenges," said Robert Millman, co-founder and CEO of Semma. Using technology developed in the lab of Douglas Melton of Harvard University and licensed and further developed by Semma, unlimited supplies of pancreatic islets can be created from pluripotent stem cells.

"Using this technology, the challenges of supply are overcome. By deriving these stem cells from a patient's own blood or skin, the challenges of allogeneic immuno-rejection are also circumvented," Millman said.

The program begins with patient evaluation and selection at UCLA.

At Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, high-quality pluripotent stem cells will be derived from each patient's blood and then analyzed.

Following this process, the stem cells will be transferred to City of Hope (COH), a premier site for manufacturing of stem cell derived products for Phase 1/2 clinical trials.

The goal of this program is to generate suitable clinical grade differentiated SC-islet cells and to establish a path leading to the transplantation of these cells back into patients in a clinical trial.

Semma Therapeutics was founded to develop transformative therapies for Type 1 diabetes patients.

Work by Douglas Melton led to the discovery of a method to generate billions of functional, insulin-producing islet cells in the laboratory.





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Title Annotation:Grants & Contracts
Publication:Stem Cell Research News
Date:Sep 26, 2016
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