ViaCyte’s artificial pancreas is grown from embryonic stem cells. It contains the insulin-producing “islet” or “beta” cells destroyed in Type 1, or insulin-dependent diabetes.
The device has eliminated diabetes symptoms in diabetic mice and rats.
ViaCyte’s islet cells are encapsulated in an implanted medical device. The cells are separated from the body by a semipermeable barrier that allows the cells to derive nutrients from the blood and secrete insulin, but shields the cells from the body’s immune system. This prevents the body from rejecting the cells, and presumably would eliminate the need for immunosuppressive drugs given to transplant recipients.