July 21, 2020 -- Gene therapy technology developer Genprex said that the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a $2.59 million grant to the University of Pittsburgh for diabetes gene therapy technology.
The funds will be used to support preclinical research for proof-of-principle, nonhuman studies in preparation for gene therapy clinical trials in humans, according to Genprex. The company signed an exclusive license agreement with the University of Pittsburgh for the potentially curative gene therapy technology.
Developed by Dr. George Gittes of the University of Pittsburgh, the gene therapy technique uses an infusion process consisting of an endoscope and an adeno-associated virus vector to deliver Pdx1 and MafA genes to the pancreas. These genes express proteins that transform alpha cells in the pancreas into functional beta-like cells that can produce insulin but are distinct enough from beta cells to evade the body's immune system, Genprex said.