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Biobank Could Help Diamyd with Diabetes Vaccine

Diamyd, which is developing a vaccine against type 1 diabetes, now owns 39 percent of Cellaviva, Sweden’s first commercial biobank for stem cells.

Diamyd made the investment because of the potential resource for research. “We believe in stem cells. Among other things, we hope that in the future we will be able to use them to make new insulin-producing beta cells to finally cure a patient with type 1 diabetes,” says Diamyd’s CEO Anders Essen-Möller.

Cellaviva staff members will not conduct any research, but in the future they may allow researchers to obtain stem cells from the biobank.

This summer, Cellaviva is scheduled to begin its first service, offering parents the chance to collect and store stem cells from umbilical cord blood from their newborn babies. The hope is that they can be used as a treatment for some diseases, should the child or family members develop them, according to LifeScience Sweden.

Such treatment should be able to supplement Diamyd’s immunomodulerande diabetes vaccine, which has been tested in five parallel clinical studies, with a sixth study on the way.

“If we can stop in type 1 diabetes ongoing autoimmune destruction of the insulin-producing beta cells with our diabetes vaccine, it is good and if it even would go to increasing the amount of insulin-producing cells and fully restore insulin production by means of stem cells, it would be even better,” says Essen-Möller.

Those wishing to store stem cells will have to submit an application that Cellaviva will evaluate with a panel of independent scientists. After the collection has started, it will take about a year for the biobank to become large enough to interest researchers, according to Cellavivas CEO Hans-Peter Ekre.

Source: LifeScience Sweden