Embryonic Stem Cell | California’s Stem Cell Agency

Diabetes mellitus currently afflicts approximately 370 million people worldwide, with projections of over 550 million by the year 2030 (sources: World Health Organization; International Diabetes Federation). In the year 2000 there were approximately 2 million cases of diabetes in California (source: Diabetes Control Program, California Department of Health Services). Further, the disease disproportionately affects certain minority groups and the elderly. Despite the use of insulin and advances in its delivery, the human cost of diabetes is underscored by the financial costs to society: tens of billions of dollars each year in California alone. The primary cause of type 1 diabetes, and contributing significantly to type 2 diabetes as well, is the loss of insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells. The CIRM Diabetes Disease Team Project is developing an innovative beta cell replacement therapy for insulin-requiring diabetes. If successful, the therapy will go beyond insulin function, and will perform the full array of normal beta cell functions, including responding in a more physiological manner than manual or mechanized insulin self-administration. Because they will be more physiological, the replacement cells could reduce the long-term effects of diabetes. Moreover, the cell therapy will alleviate patients of the constant monitoring of blood glucose, painful insulin injections, and the ever-present risk of overdosing with insulin. For these reasons, it is possible that the product could transform the diabetes treatment landscape dramatically and even replace pharmaceutical insulin in the market. This product will be available in California first, through clinical testing, and if approved by the FDA for commercial production, will eventually help hundreds of thousands of Californians with diabetes. The product will substantially increase quality of life for patients and their families, while significantly reducing the health care burden in the state. The proposed project will employ Californian doctors and scientists, and success will prove highly noteworthy for the state. Lastly, once commercially marketed, the product will yield additional jobs in manufacturing, sales, and related industries, and generate revenue for California. Given the market need and the clear feasibility, the product could become the most significant stem cell-based medical treatment of the coming decade, and that will be a tremendous achievement for California, its taxpayers, and CIRM.

Embryonic Stem Cell | California's Stem Cell Agency

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