Thursday March 7

The NSW Government has today announced $250,000 to support NSW and Israel’s leading medical researchers to develop a new treatment for type 1 diabetes that has the potential to end the need for insulin injections.

Minister for Trade and Industry, Niall Blair said this project could transform the lives of those living with diabetes.

“In NSW alone, there are an estimated 39,000 people with Type 1 diabetes and more than 21 million world-wide, so the potential impact of this treatment is enormous. This could mean another global success for NSW’s medical technology industry,” Mr Blair said.

“People with type 1 diabetes must constantly monitor blood glucose levels, which can be easily impacted by changes to exercise and diet. Getting blood sugar levels wrong can lead to long term damage to major organs.”

“The new technology could remove the need for daily monitoring of blood sugar levels and create skilled jobs in NSW as the technology is rolled out globally.”

The Australian Foundation for Diabetes Research and Sydney Cell Therapy Foundation will work with Israel biotech company Kadimastem on the project.
Australian Foundation for Diabetes Research Director Professor Bernard Tuch said the diabetes project would develop a new implantable cell therapy to replace the need for insulin injections.

“We’ve developed a device which when seeded with insulin-producing cells and implanted in rodents has been shown to reverse diabetes without the need for toxic anti-rejection drugs,” Professor Tuch said.

“Our Israel partner Kadimastem has the ability to create insulin-producing cells from human embryonic stem cells which can sense blood glucose levels and respond by secreting insulin to regulate glucose levels in diabetic recipients.
“We will work together to develop a device containing insulin-producing cells that can be implanted into people with type 1 diabetes and regulate their glucose levels for at least five years, ending the need for insulin injections.”

Diabetes NSW & ACT Chief Operating Officer Trish Egan said the project held great promise. “Although diabetes is complex, this collaboration is particularly exciting as it is well advanced and promises to fundamentally change the way people with type 1 manage the condition,” Ms Egan said.

Type 1 diabetes sufferer, Elana Bowman has been treating her condition for 25 years, which requires her to have up to seven insulin injections a day.
“Generally I have two long-acting and three short-acting insulin injections and any correction doses if needed, so I can have up to seven injections each day,” Ms
Bowman said. “I have had to take on part-time work to give me flexibility to see doctors and pharmacies to help me maintain my health. I welcome any project that could make my life and millions of other lives that little bit easier.”

MEDIA: Evie Madden | Minister Blair | 0409 682 163