Living Cell Technologies trying out new treatment for Type 1 diabetes

AUCKLAND, New Zealand A biotech company in New Zealand will try a new way of treating Type 1 diabetes: injecting patients with pig cells.

Living Cell Technologies announced Wednesday that it started a phase 1 and 2a New Zealand clinical trial of Diabecell, an investigative encapsulated pig islet cell product for insulin-dependent diabetes, following authorization by New Zealand’s Ministry of Health.

“The New Zealand trial extends LCT’s clinical program and complements the clinical and commercialization program in Russia,” LCT CEO Paul Tan said in a statement.

The drug is designed to normalize blood glucose levels in people with Type 1 diabetes, comprising encapsulated insulin-producing cells from pigs that can be administered without the need for immunosuppressive drugs, the company said.