Canada Foundation for Innovation

Canada Foundation for Innovation

December 09, 2010 12:00 ET

CFI News Brief: Novel Treatment for Diabetes, Burn Victims and Lung Disease Patients

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 9, 2010) - A renowned diabetes researcher at the University of Alberta (U of A) is embarking on a program that could revolutionize the treatment of diabetes worldwide.

Dr. Gregory Korbutt and his team are preparing insulin-producing tissues from pigs that can be transplanted into type-1 diabetics.

Korbutt was a key researcher in developing the "Edmonton Protocol" in 2000, which allowed doctors to treat type-1 diabetes by transplanting insulin-producing tissues from human cadavers.

But problems of supply have meant that fewer than 700 people worldwide have received these islets transplants.

The new Cell and Tissue Innovation Research Centre (CTIRC), spearheaded by Dr. Korbutt at the U of A, is expected to solve this problem by providing a clinical-standard manufacturing facility to prepare insulin-producing tissue from pigs. Plans for clinical trials of 200 qualifying patients in Western Canada are expected soon, thanks to the research which will be conducted in this $26.5 million facility for which the Canada Foundation for Innovation provided $10 million. The facility is scheduled to be completed in four years.

The researchers believe that the CTIRC will be able to provide virtually unlimited supplies of tissues, which would allow not only widespread treatment of type-1 diabetes but also potentially type-2 diabetes.

It also has the potential to produce skin tissue for burn victims, and the creation of stem cells for lung repair and the treatment of Crohn's disease.

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The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is an independent corporation created by the Government of Canada to fund research infrastructure. The CFI's mandate is to strengthen the capacity of Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals and non-profit research institutions to carry out world-class research and technology development that benefits Canadians. Since its creation in 1997, the CFI has committed $5.3 billion in support of more than 6,800 projects at 131 research institutions in 65 municipalities across Canada.

Contact Information

  • For more information on the Cell and Tissue
    Innovation Research Centre
    University of Alberta
    Dr. Gregory Korbutt, Professor - Alberta Diabetes Institute
    University of Alberta
    Media relations - Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
    Quinn Phillips
    Communications Associate, Media Relations