AvantiCell secures funds to test artificial pancreas

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A LIFE sciences firm in Ayrshire has secured a share of £4.7 million in funding as part of efforts to develop an artificial pancreas, the organ involved in regulating blood sugar levels.

AvantiCell Science will work with seven partners, including Oxford University, to test an artificial pancreas created by the Centre Européen d’Étude du Diabète (Ceed) in Switzerland.

The Auchincruive-based firm will look at ways to help the cells in the artificial pancreas live longer, reducing how often the organ has to be replaced.

Colin Wilde, chief scientific officer at AvantiCell, said that developing a synthetic pancreas would help sufferers of type one diabetes, which occurs when the organ fails to regulate blood sugar levels correctly.

Diabetes has been branded a “worldwide epidemic” by the World Health Organisation, with 366 million sufferers costing £290 billion to treat each year. One diabetic dies every seven seconds, totalling some 4.6 million deaths a year.

The cash has been awarded to the Biosid project under the European Union’s seventh framework programme.