This year, the DRI entered into a new partnership with iTolerance, a Miami-based early-stage regenerative medicine company, with a promising new therapy in development for individuals with type 1 diabetes.
The company’s lead platform technology, iTOL-100, is a biotechnology-derived Strepavidin-FasL fusion protein, a synthetic form of the naturally occurring protein FasL, mixed with a biotin-PEG microgel (SA-FasL microgel) that potentially allows convenient and effective co-administration with implanted cells to induce local immune tolerance without the need for life-long immunosuppression.
“We are pleased to continue advancing our iTOL-100 platform and look forward to working with the DRI on this important project to validate its potential further. The missions of both the DRI and iTolerance are closely aligned, and we believe they are a premier partner for this joint endeavor. The work under this agreement will provide valuable insight and help us take another step toward developing a potential cure for type 1 diabetes. We remain committed to advancing our iTOL-100 technology and, importantly, bringing hope to the type 1 diabetes community and all stakeholders,” said Dr. Anthony Japour, Chief Executive Officer of iTolerance.
Utilizing its iTOL-100 platform technology, iTolerance is developing iTOL-102 as a potential cure for type 1 diabetes without requiring life-long immunosuppression. iTOL-100, which generates localized immune tolerance, is combined with insulin-producing stem cell-derived pancreatic islets to be implanted in the body.
These stem cell-derived pancreatic islets are potentially capable of secreting insulin in response to sugar intake, similar to how native pancreatic islet cells behave. Additionally, using stem cell-derived pancreatic islets provides an inexhaustible supply of insulin-producing cells.
“Millions of individuals with type 1 diabetes could benefit from transplantation of insulin-producing cells. However, the need for anti-rejection drugs severely limits the indications for this treatment to the most severe cases of type 1 diabetes. The possibility to successfully address this challenge with iTOL-100, eliminating the need for life-long immunosuppression, is an exciting and potentially groundbreaking opportunity, and we are looking forward to further evaluating its potential,” said Dr. Giacomo Lanzoni, one of the lead investigators at the DRI.
The DRI will assist in advancing the potential of iTOL-100 to enable engraftment and long-term survival of transplanted insulin-producing stem cells without the use of chronic immunosuppression.
Pre-clinical studies conducted to date demonstrate iTOL-100 established durable, localized immune tolerance, allowing the implanted pancreatic islets to function as a replacement for damaged native cells.
The partnership between the DRI and iTolerance represents a promising new chapter in the fight against type 1 diabetes. The DRI’s involvement in advancing the potential of iTOL-100 is an exciting development that brings hope to millions of individuals living with type 1 diabetes. We look forward to further developments in this joint endeavor.