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Islet cell transplants for Type 1 Diabetes

by Medindia Content Team on September 28, 2006 at 1:46 PM
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Islet cell transplants for Type 1 Diabetes

A recent study reveals that islet cell transplantation may decrease the need of insulin injections for people with type 1 diabetes.

This study conducted by James Shapiro, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada and his team was published in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine.

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In this study, processed islet cells from dead donors were transplanted into 36 patients affected by this disease for around 27 years. There is a lack of islet cells, in the type 1 diabetes-affected people, that produce insulin in the pancreas.

The results revealed that 44% of the patients did not need insulin even after one year as the transplanted cells were functioning effectively while 28% needed very less amount of insulin. However, after 2 years, 11 of the 16 patients who showed best response were back on insulin.
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The researchers believed that fine-tuning of their method should give better results. "Analyzed another way, 58 percent of subjects reached insulin independence at some point during the trial, but 76 percent had become insulin-dependent again by two years after transplantation," Jonathan Bromberg and Derek LeRoith of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York wrote in a Journal editorial.

"The study shows that more research is needed before this technique approaches the success rate of a regular pancreas transplant. When a patient receives the entire organ instead of processed cells, the success rate is 50 to 70 percent after five years, " Bromberg and LeRoith said.

Both techniques are unsafe, as patients need to take drugs to suppress the immune system and can have severe side effects.

Source: Medindia
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