Type 1 diabetes results from the destruction of insulin-producing cells in the islets of the pancreas. Islet cell transplantation involves extracting islet cells from the pancreas of a deceased donor and implanting them in the liver of someone with Type 1. This minor procedure is usually done twice for each transplant patient, and can be performed with minimal risk using a needle under local anaesthetic. Islet transplants have been shown to reduce the risk of severe hypos. Results from UK islet transplant patients showed that the frequency of hypos was reduced from 23 per person per year before transplantation to less than one hypo per person per year afterwards.
Islet transplants usually also lead to improved awareness of hypoglycaemia, less variability in blood glucose levels, improved average blood glucose, improved quality of life and reduced fear of hypos. Long-term results are good and are improving all the time. For example, the majority of transplant patients can now expect to have a functioning transplant after six years and some people have had more than 10 years of clinical benefit.
Post-transplantation diabetes mellitus (PTDM), also known as new-onset diabetes mellitus (NODM), occurs in 10–15% of renal transplant recipients and is associated with cardiovascular disease and reduced lifespan. In the majority of cases, PTDM is characterized by β-cell dysfunction, as well as reduced insulin sensitivity in liver, muscle and adipose tissue. Glucose-lowering therapy must be compatible with immunosuppressant agents, reduced glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and severe arteriosclerosis. Such therapy should not place the patient at risk by inducing hypoglycaemic episodes or exacerbating renal function owing to adverse gastrointestinal effects with hypovolaemia.
- Xenotransplantation for the Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes
- Islet Cell Transplantation for Diabetes
- Pancreas Transplantation
- Kidney Transplants
- Beta Cell Regeneration
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