The live-cell encapsulation technology employed by Nuvilex is a way to enclose living cells in protective “cocoons” about the size of the head of a pin - we do not encapsulate drugs, but living cells. Each capsule can enclose approximately 10,000 cells; this number can differ depending upon the size of the cells encapsulated. The cell encapsulation technology used by Nuvilex can be classified as a “platform” upon which treatments for different indications may be built.
Depending on the type of cells used, the encapsulated cells can be employed in developing treatments for serious, debilitating and even deadly diseases. Nuvilex’s primary interests in the use of the live-cell encapsulation technology are for the development of treatments for various cancers and for diabetes.
Our live-cell encapsulation differs from that done by others in that the capsules that enclose the cells are made primarily of cellulose whereas others use substances such as alginate (a seaweed derivative), agarose, or chitosan, to name three. Because of this, the capsules are very robust and can withstand various external forces and this allows them to be implanted using needles or catheters without damage. Also, because they are made principally of cellulose, the capsules are essentially bio-inert in humans, so they do not degrade even after being present in the body for over two years.
The capsules contain pores that allow essential nutrients to enter and waste products and beneficial substances produced by the encapsulated cells to leave. Therefore, the cells inside the capsules can live and function for long periods of time after implantation. However, the pores are not large enough to permit the cells to leave the capsules or large enough to allow any cells of the body’s immune system to enter the capsules and destroy the encapsulated cells.
Even after more than two years in the body, no immune or inflammatory response is caused by the capsules themselves or by the cells within the capsules. In addition, the presence of the capsules does not cause fibrous overgrowth from, or other damage to, tissues nearby or surrounding the capsules.
Cells encapsulated using our technology can be stored frozen at -80°C or lower for long periods of time and then successfully thawed for use; this also allows for shipment of encapsulated cells to distant locations. Large-scale manufacturing of encapsulated cells using our technology has already been carried out according to GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) conditions – a necessity for ultimately attaining marketing approval from drug regulatory authorities such as the U.S. FDA and the EMEA in Europe.
Nuvilex has acquired worldwide exclusive rights to the cellulose-based live cell-encapsulation technology, also known as Cell-in-a-Box™, and described above, from SG Austria Pte. Ltd. for the development of treatments for any and all types of cancer. The rights to use the cancer drug-activating cells that will be part of Nuvilex’s treatment for advanced pancreatic cancer (see Pancreatic Cancer section of this website) were also acquired. The acquisition of rights to use the Cell-in-a-Box™ technology for the development of treatments for insulin-dependent diabetes has recently been completed.