Beta Cell Technologies

23 May 2017


A revolutionary breakthrough in the treatment and possible cure of type 1 diabetes developed in South Australia is now one step closer with support from State Government funding for a medical technology startup.

Adelaide-based Beta Cell Technologies , co-founded by implantation and burns experts Professors Toby Coates and John Greenwood AM, together with Julian Burton OAM, of the Julian Burton Burns Trust, plans to design and develop a seeding device which can reproduce human cells to effectively create an ectopic ‘pancreas’ on the skin.

Prof Coates (a leader in islet transplantation based at the Royal Adelaide Hospital) and Prof Greenwood (founder of the pioneering Biodegradable Temporising Matrix for burns treatment and surgical wounds based at the Royal Adelaide Hospital) have combined their expert knowledge and technologies to create the insulin-producing pancreas on the skin.

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic life-long disease in which the pancreas, a large gland behind the stomach, stops making insulin because the cells that make the insulin have been destroyed by the body’s immune system. Without insulin, the body’s cells cannot turn glucose into energy.

In a mark of professional acknowledgement, Beta Cell has secured support of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) International and in May, Prof Coates was invited to speak at the prestigious JDRF International conference in New York in which Beta Cell’s research findings were enthusiastically received by the sectors key opinion leaders, prompting several offers of collaboration.

Human trials for Beta Cell’s skin pancreas technology are expected to commence in mid-late 2018 and, if successful, the medical breakthrough has the potential to provide the 142,000 Australians who suffer from type 1 diabetes with a potential cure.

Beta Cell received $50,000 through the Early Commercialisation Fund which is designed to help entrepreneurs and businesses accelerate the commercialisation of ideas and services from proof of concept through to product development and early commercialisation.

Beta Cell Technologies