Possible Cure Of Type 1 Diabetes Now One Step Closer

Possible Cure Of Type 1 Diabetes Now One Step Closer

South Australia Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation Kyam Maher

Funding For New Type 1 Diabetes Technology

Victor P Taffa

A revolutionary breakthrough in the treatment and possible cure of type 1 diabetes developed in South Australia is now one step closer with $50,000 in State Government funding for a medical technology start up.

Beta Cell Technologies is among 6 innovative businesses to receive the latest round of grants from the South Australian Early Commercialisation Fund.


“Companies like Beta Cell are proof that we have world-class researchers in South Australia who, when connected with financial support to commercialise their ideas, could potentially create lucrative industries for our state.” Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation Kyam Maher said.

“Through programs such as the South Australian Early Commercialisation Fund we’re supporting South Australian researchers and high-tech startups that are prepared to innovate and reap the rewards.”

Adelaide-based Beta Cell, co-founded by implantation and burns experts Professors Toby Coates and John Greenwood AM, together with Julian Burton OAM, of the Julian Burton Burns Trust, plans to design and develop a seeding device which can reproduce human cells to effectively create an ectopic ‘pancreas’ on the skin.

Human trials for Beta Cell’s skin pancreas technology are expected to commence in mid-late 2018 and, if successful, could provide the 142,000 Australians who suffer from type 1 diabetes with a potential cure.

“South Australian entrepreneurs and businesses are taking a fresh approach to developing technologies and innovations with the potential to revolutionise everything from the way we treat chronic disease to the way we meet business contacts.” TechinSA Chief Executive Joe Thorp said.

“Innovation and energy happening out there in our State’s high-tech sector is impressive. By encouraging and supporting ambitious South Australians to take their ideas through to commercial success, TechinSA is helping to create a future built upon innovation, technology and knowledge that will have profound benefits for all South Australians.”

Other recipients of the most recent round of SAECF funding include:

  • Coolsan Australia – for the development of a sanitation device for large-scale chilled food manufacturing storage.
  • Life Whisperer – applying Artificial Intelligence for early detection of viable embryos for IVF
  • Nexus eCare – for the development of linked health apps, My eCare® and My eCare Diary®, to improve chronic disease management
  • Pfonr – mobile phone networking technology to manage professional and personal networking
  • Rogue Lumens – hardware and software solutions for marketing and communications


Professor Coates, a leader in islet transplantation based at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, and Professor Greenwood, founder of the pioneering Biodegradable Temporising Matrix for burns treatment and surgical wounds based at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, have combined their expert knowledge and technologies to create the insulin-producing pancreas on the skin.

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic life-long disease in which the pancreas, a large gland behind the stomach, stops making insulin because the cells that make the insulin have been destroyed by the body’s immune system. Without insulin, the body’s cells cannot turn glucose into energy.

Administered by the State Government’s innovation agency, TechInSA, the $10 Million Early Commercialisation Fund is a competitive application funding program designed to help entrepreneurs and businesses accelerate the commercialisation of ideas and services from proof of concept through to product development and early commercialisation.