Beta-O2 technologies, an Israeli bio-medical company which develops a proprietary implantable bio-reactor, the ßAir, for the treatment and potential cure of type 1 diabetes announced that the first patient has been successfully implanted with its ßAir Bio-Artificial Pancreas.
Artificial hearts and now pancreases, what next? Artificial brains? There seems to be no end in sight for what doctors can do today.
Artificial organs do away with all the problems involved with the transplanting of natural organs taken from another person. The human body’s immune system does not always accept the alien organ, not to mention the fact that one has to hope for someone else to die to get one.
If you go to Beta-02’s website then you will find an in depth explanation of how the new device works. But you will probably need to be a doctor to understand it. People who desperately need new organs certainly will not care how an artificial one works, though, just that it saved their lives.
Eight participants who meet the study criteria will be enrolled in the trial at Uppsala University Hospital in Sweden. Last month, JDRF awarded Beta-O2 a grant to fund half of the $1M, two-year, open label, pilot investigation which will evaluate the safety and efficacy of implanting the ßAir macro-encapsulation with human islets of Langerhans.
Dr. Dan Gelvan, chairman of the board of Beta-O2 and managing director of life sciences at Aurum Ventures said, “In the search for the holy grail of bio-artificial pancreases, there have always been three major obstacles: creating an implant that the body won’t reject so that the patient doesn’t need to take immunosuppressive drugs for the rest of their lives; finding a way to actively and regularly provide the correct amount of oxygen to the cells in the device in order to keep them happy, properly functioning and producing sufficient quantities of insulin; and finally, having enough cells in the device in the first place to generate as much insulin as the body needs at any given time.”
“A normal pancreas has 1 million islets; 400, 000 islets, however, are enough to get the job done. We believe we have created a healthy environment that will enable this many islets to live and function at an optimal level for an extended period of time.”