Our innovation combines state-of-the art stem cell technology with a breakthrough in tissue engineering to create a fully functional engineered micro-pancreas (EMP).
This has the potential to be a long-term solution for the management of diabetes, and to supply daily insulin replacement.
Our micro-organ matrix (MOM) recreates and mimics the normal extracellular environment that surrounds β-cells in the pancreas and supports their supply of necessary nutrients and growth factors.
About 500 million people worldwide are living with diabetes, a metabolic disorder caused by loss or dysfunction of beta(β)-cells in the pancreas and is associated with comorbidities and complications such as kidney and cardiovascular disease.
Currently, there is no long-term cure, and the only readily available treatment is replacement of insulin through injection, and careful control of sugar and carbohydrate intake to maintain blood sugar levels (glycaemia). There is a clear and urgent need to develop more advanced cell and/or regenerative therapies to restore normoglycemia in diabetic patients. Curing diabetes will require the restoration of β cell mass.
Transplantation of the insulin-producing unit of the pancreas, β-cell-containing islets, has been attempted in patients, with limited success: 70% of islets fail to engraft.
Importantly, isolated islets lack the molecular and structural microenvironment that is critical to their survival and function, and harvesting from cadaveric sources means high variability in quality and supply, making widespread adoption of the technique unfeasible.
Devices for monitoring blood glucose and implantable insulin pumps are incapable of reproducing the fine-tuned glucose sensing of natural islets.
Patients still experience erratic swings in blood glucose, and dangerous episodes of severe hypoglycaemia. Islet cell transplant, introduced in 1999, is a more invasive procedure, requiring lifelong immune suppression;
70-90% of patients still need insulin injections within 5 years.
The supply of islet donors is extremely limited and variable, as the main source is from human cadavers, making this a non-scalable solution for the up to 5m people worldwide who need islet transplantation.
Cell-based regenerative therapies for the millions of people suffering from diabetes are therefore desperately needed.
Stem cell derived β-cells provide a more sustainable and successful source of material than islets.
“Naked” β-cells do not represent a long-term solution, however: most of the infused β-cells die after weeks.
Raised funds from private investors, the Israel Innovation Authroity and the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the Eurpean Union.
Betalin’s team is comprised of scientists, engineers, clinical experts, and a advisory board whose members include a Nobel prize winner and the President-Elect of the International Diabetes Federation.
The company is led by: