Humacyte is teaming up with the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Foundation) to focus on development of a biovascular pancreas.

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a condition that causes the pancreas to make very little or no insulin. Although transplantation of pancreatic islets is an effective form of treatment, the technique is difficult due to insufficient oxygen levels in the vein transporters and can lead to cell death.

A biovascular pancreas removes this hurdle by acting as a ‘carrier’ for the cells and providing a vascular scaffold to supply oxygen to the islets. Whilst promising, the biovascular pancreas is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). JDRF will provide Humacyte with funding to advance development and research of the technique.

“Through the successful replacement of lost or damaged insulin-producing cells, Humacyte’s Biovascular Pancreas has the potential to solve roadblocks in the delivery of insulin-producing cells and change the lives of those living with the disease,” said Esther Latres, JDRF vice president of research.

Humacyte is using its investigational tissue-engineered blood vessel – Human Acellular Vessel (HAV) – to help the biovascular pancreas deliver cells. The HAV technology is in late-stage clinical trials targeting other vascular applications such as vascular trauma repair, arteriovenous access for hemodialysis, and peripheral arterial disease.

“Humacyte’s HAV technology, combined with insulin-producing islets, may constitute a groundbreaking development in the treatment of T1D in the future. Successful development of the BVP could improve the lives of millions of patients, and their families, who are suffering with this chronic and debilitating disease,” said Dr. Laura ​​Niklason, founder and CEO of Humacyte.

GlobalData predicts that the global diabetes devices market will be worth $33.4bn by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 6.3%.