Greg Korbutt, PhD
Office: 5-002D Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation
Mail: University of Alberta, Edmonton AB, T6G 2E1
Professor, Dept. of Surgery
Director of Histology Core Laboratory, ADI
Director of Human Islet Quality Control Laboratory
Neonatal porcine islet xenotransplantation without the need for immunosuppression
The main objectives of Dr. Korbutt’s research is to develop a more accessible source of insulin producing tissue for transplantation into patients with type 1 diabetes and to devise a strategy to transplant this tissue without the need for continuous immunosuppression.
Current Research Activities
It has been shown that human islet allografts can achieve insulin-independence in a reproducible manner, thereby significantly improving the quality of life of brittle diabetic patients. However, to treat all diabetic patients, an unlimited source of tissue is needed and the transplant needs to be carried out without continuous immunosuppression.
Therefore, the main objectives of Dr. Korbutt’s research group are to develop an unlimited source of insulin-producing tissue and devise a strategy to transplant this tissue without the need for continuous immunosuppression.
The majority of Dr. Korbutt’s publications can be categorized within the following four research themes:
1) Neonatal porcine islets as a source of insulin-producing tissue;
2) Stem cells as a source of insulin-producing tissue;
3) Clinical islet transplantation; and
4) Co-transplantation of testicular Sertoli cells to immuno-protect islet grafts.
Other Activities and Affiliations
Dr. Korbutt is the project leader of a recently funded (June, 2009) Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) award to build a cGMP “Cell and Tissue Innovation Research Centre” (CTIRC) on the 7th floor of the Alberta Diabetes Institute in Edmonton. The award consists of $10.6 million from the CFI, matching funds from the Alberta Science and Research Investments Program (ASRIP) and $5 million from the University of Alberta, totaling $26.2 million. The CTIRC will be the first cGMP platform for cell and tissue production to be established in Western Canada and will have 5 processing rooms for stem cell products and a physically separate processing laboratory for the isolation of clinical grade neonatal porcine islets. Construction of this facility began July, 2011 and is expected to be completed in January, 2013.
PhD, MSc, Vrijie Universitet, Brussels
Dr. Korbutt’s research over the past 16 years has focused on developing a translational strategy to use neonatal porcine islets to treat patients with type 1 diabetes. Since 1996, he has published over 40 original scientific manuscripts directly related to this topic. Initially he reported a simple, inexpensive and reproducible method to isolate large numbers of neonatal porcine islets. He has demonstrated that these islets are comprised of differentiated endocrine and endocrine precursor cells that both in vitro and in vivo have the potential for proliferation and differentiation and have been shown to reverse hyperglycemia in immuno-deficient mice, allogeneic out-bred pigs, and in non-human primates.
Theme 1: Neonatal porcine islets as a source of insulin-producing tissue
GS Korbutt, JF Elliott, Z Ao, DK Smith, GL Warnock, RV Rajotte. Large scale isolation, growth, and function of porcine neonatal islet cells. Journal of Clinical Investigation 97:2119-2129, 1996.
Since this original publication Dr. Korbutt has published 9 papers related to neonatal porcine islets as either the first or senior author as well as 6 additional publications as a co-author through productive collaborations.
K Cardona, GS Korbutt, Z Milas, J Lyon, J Cana, W Jiang, H Bello-Labron, B Hacquoil, E Strobert, S Gangappa, C Weber, T Pearson, RV Rajotte, C Larsen. Long-term survival of neonatal porcine islets in nonhuman primates by targeting costimulation pathways. Nature Medicine 12:304-306, 2006.
Theme 2: Stem cells as a source of insulin-producing tissue
CN Street, JRT Lakey, AMJ Shapiro, S Imes, RV Rajotte, EA Ryan, JG Lyon T Kin, J Avila, T Tsujimura, GS Korbutt. Islet graft assessment in the Edmonton protocol. Implications for predicting long-term clinical outcome. Diabetes 53:3107-3114, 2004.
This publication showed a significant positive correlation between the number of islet stem cells transplanted in each clinical islet graft with long-term metabolic success in the patients. In addition, Dr. Korbutt has published 5 more papers related to pancreatic stem cells as senior author and 2 manuscripts as a co-author that were published in Science and Nature Biotechnology.
Theme 3: Clinical islet transplantation
AMJ Shapiro, JRT Lakey, EA Ryan, GS Korbutt, EL Toth, GL Warnock, NM Kneteman, RV Rajotte. Islet transplantation in seven patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus using a glucocorticoid-free immunosuppressive regime. New England Journal of Medicine 343:230-238, 2000.
Dr. Korbutt has been a member of the University of Alberta’s Clinical Islet Transplant Team since its inception. Dr. Korbutt is the Director of the Human Islet Characterization Laboratory that was responsible for assessing the islet grafts cellular composition and functional properties that were transplanted in the patients of the above study. In this role, he has been a co-author on 7 additional manuscripts directly related to clinical islet transplantation.
Theme 4: Co-transplantation of testicular Sertoli cells to immuno-protect islet grafts
GS Korbutt, JF Elliott, RV Rajotte. Co-transplantation of allogeneic islets with allogeneic testicular Sertoli cell aggregates allows long-term graft survival without systemic immunosuppression. Diabetes 46:317-322, 1997.
Since this original publication Dr. Korbutt has published 5 more papers directly related to Sertoli cells as first or senior author and 5 additional publications as a co-author through productive collaborations.