NEC member Vertex Pharmaceuticals recently announced some of the findings within their Type 1 diabetes trial after receiving the test results from one of its patients. The company was encouraged by the results and publicized their findings, in what Vertex’s Executive Chairman, Jeff Leiden called a “medical milestone.”
The patient is one of the first to receive this treatment as the trial involves only 16 patients. The diabetic patient was injected with stem cells that have been converted into insulin-producing islet cells three months ago—since then, his daily need for insulin has dropped by 90%. The treatment allows for the body to create insulin producing cells to replace the cells that are being destroyed because of how Type 1 diabetics autoimmune system operates.
“Suddenly, we have a different kind of therapy. You’re not just treating the symptom. You’re going after the root cause of the disease,” said Leiden.
Vertex is currently in its initial stages of the trial and the product will not be commercialized for a few years. The company announced that it will only be testing its treatment on the sickest diabetic patients because of how intense the treatment is on the patient’s immune system.
The New England Council recognizes the incredibly groundbreaking work Vertex is doing to help treat Type 1 diabetes.