Nano@Tech: Current and future cell therapies for treatment of type 1 diabetes

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Surendra J. Chavan, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer, Vicapsys Inc., Athens, GA

Abstract : Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune destruction of insulin producing β-cells present in the endocrine part of the pancreas. Lifelong administration of exogenous insulin is a current mode of treatment, due to frequency of injection and precise dosing it remains a suboptimal treatment. Furthermore, this treatment fails to balance endocrine system and in prevention of severe complications associated with this disease. As immunotherapy approaches have remained unsuccessful, the only cure for T1D is transplantation of donor-derived pancreas or islets. However, donor scarcity, graft loss, and immune response to the foreign tissue are issues challenging this approach and limiting the number of patients who can benefit from such treatments. A recent estimate is that about 12,000 organ donors in the U.S. could potentially supply islets but that the number of donor preparations is likely only about 3,000 per year. This supply is unlikely to expand significantly in the future as a result b-cells replacement therapies are being considered as a means to treat T1D. Scientist are evaluating different sources of insulin-producing cells, including re-engineered human cells such as differentiated pluripotent stem cells and islets from other species. This presentation will summarize the cutting-edge research that aims to tackle the current challenges in reaching a quality-controlled product with long-term effects, with a focus on regenerative medicine approaches using different sources of b-cells.

Bio: Dr. Chavan earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer (ACTREC) in Mumbai, India, and a Masters in Biotechnology from the Indian Institute of Technology.  He is Chief Scientific Officer at Vicapsys Inc, Athens, GA. He is an entrepreneur and Board Director level executive with proven international experience in drug development, commercial partnerships, strategy development, and operational management and financial management of life sciences/biotechnology companies.  Dr. Chavan is highly motivated, result oriented diligent team leader, with more than 27 years of biotechnology experience of which the last 16 years have been dedicated for the development of cell-based therapies and bio-therapeutic molecules for treatment of cancer and autoimmunity diseases. He has more than 16 years of global drug development experience covering preclinical, and early stage clinical development, clinical operations, regulatory and safety functions. During this period, he has held several positions of increasing responsibility and has successfully led drug development research programs at Celtaxsys, Inc, Forest Life Sciences, Bioquant, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, which resulted in over 50 publications in peer-reviewed journals and 12 US patents. He is one of the inventorS of the real time fluorescent reverse transcriptase assay that forms the basis of today’s real time PCR technology platform. He has received several awards for his scientific contributions including the Henry Christian Award from American Federation for Medical Research Foundation, USA for his research on HIV-protease inhibitor “Indinavir”.

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