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  • Writer's pictureMcMaster Diabetes Association (MDA)

Novel T1D Therapy: VX-264-- A potential life-changing development?


Written By: Zenab Gill


Considering the nature of Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) as an autoimmune disease that is strongly linked to genetic factors, those with the condition largely have to rely on insulin therapy with the hopes of a cure being found one day. This day may come sooner than predicted, as the global biotechnology company Vertex has announced FDA clearance of a novel cell therapy for the treatment of T1D.

Vertex’s new therapy known as VX-264 is a form of stem-cell-derived, pancreatic islet cell therapy, which has been discovered and developed for decades now, in which stem cells are differentiated into the pancreatic islet cells originally destroyed in T1D. However, this approach has largely had many complications regarding immunosuppression, as transplants are recognized as foreign by the immune system, and patients would therefore need long-term medications to suppress the body’s auto-immune response to the transplants. This would come with harmful side effects, such as an increased risk of infection. VX-264, on the other hand, also contributes a means to address this immunosuppression, as the pancreatic islet cells are encapsulated in a Vertex-developed immunoprotective device. This device physically protects the pancreatic islet cells while still allowing nutrients to reach them.

This new treatment broadens the population of T1Ds the therapy could reach, and poses strong hope for diabetics in which VX-264 uses the same pancreatic islet cells as Vertex’s previous project VX-880– which increased its first patient’s time in range to 99%.

With this approval by the FDA, clinical trials will begin in the United States and early clinical trials are already ongoing in Canada. Ultimately VX-264 is a great advancement in the development of potentially life-changing new therapies.

Keep posted on our blog for further updates as we learn more about VX-264 and other novel therapies for diabetes!


References:

Briskin, A. (2023, March 10). New vertex type 1 stem cell therapy gets FDA nod to enter clinical trials. diaTribe. Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://diatribe.org/new-vertex-type-1-stem-cell-therapy-gets-fda-nod-enter-clinical-trials


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