They’re called therapeutic cell pouches, created at Sernova Corp. in London, to treat Type 1 diabetes.

“We are really trying to bring the person with diabetes back to the original situation of when they didn’t have diabetes and that’s goal of cell therapy,” says Dr. Philip Toleikis, President and CEO of Sernova.

The therapeutic cell pouch is around the size of a business card, and once placed inside the patient mimics the function of the pancreas.

“We are using the cell pouch itself to develop into an organ-like environment and after we place the cell pouch under the skin several weeks later we have beautiful vascularized tissue lined chambers in which we can put the therapeutic cells,” he says.

This is now happening in phase one of a human clinical trial where the first patient has now been transplanted with the cell pouch and the therapeutic cells.

As part of this clinical trial taking place at the University of Chicago, seven patients will take part where safety and efficacy of the cell pouches will be evaluated.

“We will be releasing safety data the first half of this year and initial efficacy data second half of this year and the data will come out over time as the patients take part in this study," says Toleikis.

The next steps following this study will be conducting a larger patient trial with the hopes of improving treatment and quality of life for those living with Type 1 diabetes.