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Progress Stem-Cell Therapy For Diabetes

Opexa Therapeutics is a company that develops and commercializes stem cell therapies to treat autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes. Last month the company announced new preclinical data that support its autologous stem cell therapy program. The studies have shown that cells obtained from peripheral blood have the ability to differentiate into pancreatic-like cells.

Opexa's specialists found that peripheral blood mononuclear cells can differentiate into pancreatic islet-like cells. These peripheral blood mononuclear cells were obtained from the blood of healthy and diabetic patients. The cells received demonstrate many of the expected characteristics of true pancreatic islet cells - they have the ability to secrete insulin, glucagon and somatostatin. Additional studies held to support the new findings also show high levels of C-peptide. C-peptide is a by-product of insulin synthesis, within these islet-like cells.

Additional preclinical studies are planned. There is a need to examine optimal dosing, delivery and route of administration of the islet-like clusters, and toxicology, as the stem cell therapy can offer benefits not only for the treatment of diabetes but also in other disease areas.

The therapy derives cells from a patient's own blood for the treatment of diabetes. The results are as follows:
- In the process of in vivo studies for prolonged periods of time scientists observed a reduction in the blood glucose levels.
- Multi-potent stem cells were derived from peripheral blood mononuclear cells. These stem cells have been differentiated into
insulin-producing islet-like clusters. The islet-like clusters are able to synthesize and secrete insulin in a glucose-responsive manner in vitro. They express a variety of endocrine specific markers.