RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. … Antioxidants made by Incara Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: INCR) increase the number of islets recovered from donated human pancreata by two to three times, according to a study published in the August issue of Diabetes, the journal of the American Diabetes Association.

The study, conducted at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, also found that fewer donor islets were required to normalize blood sugar levels in a mouse model of diabetes when the islets were treated with an Incara antioxidant. The pancreata obtained for this study did not meet current criteria for acceptance for islet transplant procedures, suggesting that the number of usable organs for islet transplant may also be expanded by use of the catalytic antioxidants.

Islets are anatomical structures in the pancreas that contain insulin-producing cells. Islet transplantation, a potentially curative treatment for Type 1, or juvenile, diabetes, is limited by the ability to isolate enough functional human islets from donors. Currently, islets from two to three organ donors are needed to perform a transplant into one patient.

“Use of our catalytic antioxidants increases the yield of human islets, reduces the number of islets required for transplant, and allows isolation of islets from a greater number of donated pancreata,” Incara Chief Executive Clayton Duncan said in a statement. “We have begun to receive requests from clinical investigators for the compounds. Assuming adequate financing, we plan to make this important reagent available for use late this year for non-human research. Early next year, we intend to make it available to physicians with IND (Investigational New Drug) programs for human islet transplant to treat Type 1 diabetes.”

Incara recently said it is running dangerously low on cash and is considering various alternatives, from selling securities to selling part or all of the company, to finance continued operations.

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