Nuvilex, a US-based clinical-stage biotechnology company, has obtained exclusive worldwide rights to use human insulin-producing cells.
The research was conducted in Australia by the University of Technology, Sydney, with a line of insulin-producing cells developed that could eliminate the need for people with type 1 diabetes to inject.
Melligen cells
These insulin-producing cells have been termed “Melligen” cells and were originally derived from a human liver cancer cell line.
This exploration was conducted by UTS’ Professor Ann Simpso, who sought to activate liver cells to replace cells in the pancreas that fail to produce insulin in people with type 1 diabetes.
“When a foetus develops, the liver and the pancreas form from the same endodermal origin,” Simpson explained, with similar makeup shared by liver cells and the pancreas.
Commercial diabetes breakthrough
Nuvilex’s goal is to encapsulate Melligen cells and test them on animals with diabetes to see if insulin can be produced on demand. It is hoped a “bio-artificial pancreas” will be formed in patients with type 1 diabetes.
“I am pleased that after many years of diabetes research at UTS, Nuvilex will now be developing this technology for commercialisation to a global market,” Simpson said.
“If we are successful, those with type 1 diabetes will be freed from depending on daily insulin injections or the use of insulin pumps, as well as the constant need to monitor their blood glucose levels and modify their diets”.

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