On January 19, Islet Sheet Medical of San Francisco announced it has begun a collaborative research effort with Edmonton Protocol pioneers James Shapiro and Jonathan Lakey of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.
According to the Islet Sheet Medical press release, the University of Alberta will conduct large-scale animal experiments to demonstrate that the Islet Sheet can function for extended periods without immune suppression. The Islet Sheet contains islets protected by a polymer coating, which eliminates the need for the anti-rejection drugs used in the Edmonton Protocol. The Islet Sheet can be retrieved at any time, providing a measure of safety unavailable with other technologies.
“Edmonton researchers are credited with many of the top advances in islet transplantation,” commented Scott R. King, president of Islet Sheet Medical. “We hope to make islet transplantation available to millions more people.”
Shapiro, director of the clinical islet transplant program at the University of Alberta, said, “If the Islet Sheet concept works without significant risk to patients, this could be an incredible advance for islet transplant. Transplant without drugs is the goal of all of us, the dream being to transplant earlier in the course of diabetes, including children one day, to more effectively prevent secondary complications without the risks of [anti-rejection drugs]. We are pleased to have the opportunity to carefully evaluate the scientific merits of the Islet Sheet approach.”