From Vancouver, Washington, USA:
What is the reality of all people who have type 1 diabetes being cured with islet cell transplantation? Everyone may not be able to afford it. Where will all the transplanted cells come from? Do they come from a deceased patient's organ donation going to a live person on a long waiting list?
A few years ago a group of transplant surgeons in Edmonton developed a technique for islet cell transplantation that was successful. The problems were that the supply of cadaver islet cells was limited, it took at least two donors to achieve insulin independence, and there had to be a commitment to lifetime immunosuppression.
Subsequently, islet cell recovery has been much improved and have the means of protecting the graft itself from immune damage. However, the procedure is never going to be widely available until some form of surrogate insulin-producing cells can be cultured, and here again there are promising ideas, but progress must seem tantalisingly slow.
Original posting 19 Oct 2003
Posted to Transplants
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