From Arizona, USA:
I have taught anatomy and physiology for 25 years. Approximately 15 years ago, one of the science news magazine articles was concerning embryonic pancreatic transplants in Australia. The research said that the embryonic pancreas was ideal for transplant because the digestive side of the organ did not function but the endocrine part did. I have not seen, heard, or read anything concerning this procedure. Is it because the US is against transplanting fetal tissue? Seems to me that this would be a perfect solution to Type 1 diabetes. It could be corrected at the moment of diagnosis and the child could avoid all the pain and worry. I would appreciate it if you could check with the Australian authority to see if the procedure is still being carried out.
I'd have to say that things are not so easy as you affirm, and I've not heard any recent news about embryonic pancreatic transplants in Type 1 diabetes, either. Besides the ideal immunological feature of the non-functioning digestive (exocrine) side of the organ to be transplanted, the real problem that continues to discourage the use of pancreatic organ transplantation in Type 1 diabetic patients without advanced kidney disease/failure is the disadvantageous risk/benefit ratio of the intervention and associated immunotherapy that can cause serious side effects. Furthermore, HLA-identical organs have been found to elicit recurrence of autoimmune reactivity in Type 1 diabetic patients. To sum up, it will be most important to find some way, different from the present use of immune drugs, to stop the host's immune memory from destroying the graft organ.
Original posting 24 Jun 1998
Posted to Research: Cure
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:58
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