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From Las Vegas, Nevada, USA:

My 12 month old daughter was just diagnosed with type 1 diabetes about three weeks ago, and I have heard of a procedure that can be done to remove her own islet cells and transplant them back to her. Does this procedure exist? Who does this and where is it done? What inclusion criteria are there? Since they are her own cells, would she need immunosuppressive drugs? If she does, why can't she just take the drugs without the transplant?


The procedure you describe has indeed been used with some success in adult cases where the pancreas has had to be removed surgically and the need for additional insulin by injection has at least been delayed.There is, of course, no replacement of the exocrine enzymes which then have to be given orally.

The procedure would never be considered in a one year old with type 1A (autoimmune) not only because of the dangers of the operation; but because the islet cells would have been almost completely destroyed anyway. Before too long though, there seems a good chance that some form of transplantation will be possible with a minimum need for immunosuppression.


[Editor's comment: Also, see islet cell transplants at this website, and Pancreas Transplantation at the Diabetes Monitor. WWQ]

Original posting 12 Apr 2003
Posted to Transplants


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