Ben-Gurion University established the Clinical Islet Laboratory for the Study of Immunology, Transplantation, Inflammation and Diabetes. It is in this highly specialized laboratory, the only one of its kind in Israel, where leading researchers are breaking through this diverse disease and coming closer to finding a cure.
BGU’s researchers are working on a new line of drugs based on the alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT) protein that reduces inflammation during islet transplantation. AAT allows the transplantation of donor islet cells in a diabetic’s liver to respond in the long term, eventually eliminating the need for weekly injections and in effect “curing” diabetes. Human clinical trials are currently in progress.
The first patient to receive AAT therapy in BGU’s clinical study was a young Jewish boy from San Diego in 2008. He was given eight injections, once a week.
“Prior to the treatment the boy was put on a ‘diabetic’ diet and was taking more than 10 mm of insulin per meal. Today, his glucose is controlled, and so far, his body has tolerated the therapy very well,” said Dr. Eli Lewis in March 2011.
Dr. Lewis is head of BGU’s Clinical Islet Laboratory for the Study of Immunology, Transplantation, Inflammation and Diabetes.
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