NEW YORK, NY–(Marketwired – February 04, 2015) – PharmaCyte Biotech, Inc. (PMCB) officially moved beyond the discussion of a diabetes treatment to planting its flag in the multi-billion dollar diabetes industry with its recent announcement that the company has started the first of its preclinical trials related to developing a diabetes treatment.
The Silver Spring, Maryland biotech firm is already in the clinic developing targeted oncology treatments, and now, with the initiation of its first preclinical study that will act as an evaluation, of sorts, to test the safety, efficacy and dosing of its proprietary Melligen cell line for the treatment of diabetes, PharmaCyte Biotech has “officially” joined what has become an industry-wide search for a better solution to the fast-growing diabetes epidemic worldwide.
PharmaCyte Biotech’s Melligen cell line is a human cell line engineered to produce, store and then secrete insulin at levels that are in direct proportion to the levels of glucose or blood sugar in the human body. And, just as with its oncology portfolio, PharmaCyte and its Singapore-based partner, Austrianova, will develop a treatment using a unique approach to fighting the disease — its signature live-cell encapsulation technology, Cell-in-a-Box® which is a platform technology that serves as an immune-protected “mini-implant.”
This first preclinical “evaluation” of the Melligen cell line is underway at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, Austria, and these studies will provide further data on the characterization of the cell line, which was developed by Prof. Ann M. Simpson at the University of Technology, Sydney, in animals.
PharmaCyte Biotech’s Chief Scientific Officer and Chairman at Austrianova, Prof. Walter H. Gunzburg, and Austrianova’s CEO, Dr. Brian Salmons, have previously encapsulated Melligen cells and have successfully performed preliminary in vitro analyses demonstrating that encapsulation does not affect the ability of the Melligen cells to produce insulin in response to glucose.
Normally diabetics would inject themselves with insulin based on the amount of sugar they eat. PharmaCyte Biotech’s approach to diabetes, however, is to encapsulate live cells capable of producing insulin in response to blood sugar and then inject these capsules (Cell-in-a-Box) under the skin of the diabetic. As the patient needs insulin, based on what they eat, the cells release just the right amount of insulin into the blood stream.
It’s an approach that the company hopes it can deliver to the diabetes community with the expectation that the final product could eventually eliminate the need for numerous daily injections. While PharmaCyte Biotech is heavily involved with a treatment for advanced pancreatic cancer, and a treatment for the symptoms associated with all abdominal cancers, it can’t ignore the sizable diabetes market.
Worldwide there are about 350 million people who have been diagnosed with diabetes and countless millions who remain undiagnosed. In the U.S. alone, the annual diabetes costs are approaching $300 billion. So, while the company has a long road ahead in the development of its treatment for the disease, it’s clear to see why PharmaCyte Biotech made it official this week and joined the fight for a real solution to diabetes.
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