New research to examine stem cell treatment for diabetes

Tue, 20 Nov 2012
Scientists in Ireland are set to begin a major new European project that will investigate the ability of adult stem cells in treating diabetes.

The €6 million Reddstar programme will examine whether stem cells can safely control blood glucose levels and reduce the damage caused by six different diabetes complications - retinopathy, cardiomyopathy, diabetic foot ulcers, nephropathy, neuropathy and impaired bone repair.

Professor Timothy O'Brien, Director of the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at the National University of Ireland, Galway, which is co-ordinating the research, said: "At the moment, there are very few treatment options available to control the initiation and progression of these complications.

"In addition, there are no treatments which will improve glucose levels and simultaneously treat the diabetic complication. These complications therefore continue to be a major challenge for clinicians and patients alike."

The Eu-funded project will involve clinical trials using bone-marrow-derived stem cells discovered and owned by Orbsen Therapeutics, an NUI Galway spin-out company.

The researchers will test the cells in several preclinical models of diabetic complications at centres across Europe. The complication that responds best to the stem cell treatment will then be selected for clinical trials in Denmark.

Brian Molloy, CEO of Orbsen Therapeutics, commented: "Our participation in REDDSTAR assists us in the development of our core stem cell technology and will make a substantial contribution to our R&D programme.

"Our mission is to become Europe's leading Stem Cell Therapy company. Collaborations such as this with REMEDI and NUI Galway help to position Ireland as a European hub for cell therapy development."
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