Islet Transplantation with Chimeric Donor Pigs
More than 1 million Americans have type I (insulin dependent) diabetes. Transplantation of human islets, with the appropriate immune suppression, can provide a long-term insulin free cure. However, there is a severe shortage of human islet donors available, sufficient for only about 1000 transplants annually. Furthermore, chronic immune suppression could exclude this application to children. The transplantation of islets from donor pigs could resolve the
shortage. However, with current technology, increased immune suppression would be needed to prevent rejection.
Ximerex, Inc. has developed technology for transplantating pig xenografts while eliminating the need for severe immune suppression. By engrafting lymphocytes from the intended recipient within fetal pigs destined to become the donors, the transplant goals ofimmtme tolerance and tissue accommodation are achieved within the donor pig, prior to transplantation. The recipient is spared the risks associated with severe immune suppression.
In a pilot study, we have cured two diabetic rhesus monkeys (total pancreatectomy) with pig islet transplants. They received minimal pretransplant immune suppression and no post-transplant suppression. The long term islet xenografts
provided an insulin free state for both recipients.
Using this propeitary technology, protected with a dominant patent position, Ximerex, Inc. would provide medical centers with islets and splenoeytes prepared from chimeric donor pigs for transplantation.
This proposal will extend develop the technology and complete the definitive preelinical studies needed for clinical trials. The specific aims are to:
Aim 1. Determine the donor factors responsible for prolonged pig xenograft acceptance.
The relative roles of specific immune tolerance and pig tissue accommodation in prolonging pig islet xenograft acceptance will be determined. The critical dose of islets will be established.
Aim 2. Improve Porcine Islet-Like Cell Cluster (PlCC)grafts to obtain the most rapid onset of robust
A delay is typically observed in the maturation of the transplanted pig islet cell clusters. The function of the islet
grafts will be enhanced with the goal of accelerating the maturation, leading to a cure of their diabetes.
Aim 3. Develop a certifiable source herd of swine for tissue donation.
Ximerex has preferred access to a unique herd of biomedical grade swine, monitored for 47 potential pathogens. The
herd will developed appropriately for initial clinical trials.
Aim 4. Develop protocols for post-transplant assessment of the islet cells and immune competence
Improved methods for pig islet function and immune competence of the recipient will be developed. These will permit earlier detection of rejection or graft failure, and establish the safety of xenotransplantation with regards to risk of zoonotic or opportunistic infections.
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