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October 3, 2003

Transplants

Question from British Columbia, Canada:

I am interested in the new breakthroughs in the treatment of type 1 diabetes and want to be a subject for islet cell transplantation. What is your opinion on islet cell transplantation? What are the risks?

Answer:

Islet cell transplantation needs to be considered an experimental therapy. It has great promise. However, less is known regarding the duration of effective therapy, the ability of this intervention to prevent or stabilize complications compared to pancreas transplantation, and you have to consider the immunosuppression risks. Having said this, I think that islet cell transplantation is an exciting therapy. More needs to be done to provide a source of islets and to protect the islets at the time of transplantation so that patients can be treated with one pancreas, rather than more than one pancreas.

JTL