A way to isolate pancreatic islet cells from brain dead donors has been discovered by researchers. These cells when received by three type 1-diabetes patients made them insulin independent.
"Inconsistent islet isolation is one of the important issues in clinical islet transplantation," said Dr. Shinichi Matsumoto, lead author of the research team from Japan's Okayama Graduate School of Medicine.
"Failure of donor islet isolation often results from the loss of the donor pancreas. Our simple modification of the retrieval process appears valuable for assuring greater success in islet transplantation."
Ductal injection is a procedure that modifies the islet isolation process using a cooling solution on the pancreatic islet cells derived from brain-dead donors. The cooling solution, applied at the donor's pancreatic ductal site, aids the viability of the islet cells.
"DI significantly improved the quantity and quality of isolated islets and resulted in a high success rate of clinical islet transplantation," said Matsumoto.
The team from several collaborating Baylor University research centers and from Japan was able to achieve a better than 80 percent success rate using DI.
"In the DI group, the fasting blood glucose of all three patients improved after a single islet transplantation, and improved further after the second transplantation," commented Dr. Matsumoto.
"None of these patients experienced subsequent hypoglycemia, and all three became insulin independent."
"The number of islets isolated from donor pancreata continues to be quite variable and many times are not sufficient for clinical transplantation" said Dr. Rodolfo Alejandro, section editor for Cell Transplantation and Professor of Medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
"This paper describes a novel approach to improve islet isolation yields. These are promising results that need to be confirmed in a randomized concurrent protocol".