Among the therapies that are in various stages of development:
Massimo Trucco, MD, and his team, based on earlier and extensive studies in animals and in an early clinical trial conducted in human type 1 diabetics, is poised to test the efficacy of their experimental autologous tolerogenic dendritic cell vaccine in newly diagnosed patients. The team anticipates support from National Institutes of Health
Also, researchers at the Institute have been working with partners at the Cleveland Clinic (my.clevelandclinic.org) to expand the use of therapeutic insulin-producing cell transplants following removal of the entire pancreas as a more effective treatment for chronic pancreatitis. Surgeons remove the diseased pancreas from a patient in Cleveland and transport it to a specially-designed laboratory in the institute at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh.
Here, the team isolates the cell clusters (islets) in the pancreas that produce insulin, purifies them, and returns them to Cleveland, where the islets are transplanted back into the patient’s liver. So far, the team has performed more than 100 procedures
Dr. Trucco aims to integrate the entire procedure inside Allegheny General Hospital¬, from surgical removal of the pancreas to the islet transplantation, thus allowing the hospital to become one of just a handful of hospitals across the country that safely and successfully conduct the procedure
Dr. Trucco said of the institute’s work, “Allegheny Hospital is certainly more a hospital than an academic institution. I thought it could be the right place to concentrate my efforts on studying the etiology of diabetes with the scientific goal of being able to create clinical protocols useful to successfully reducing the symptoms and complications of people suffering from this disease. It’s the dream of an entire scientific life.