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September 23, 2003

Research: Cure, Transplants

Question from Nigeria:

I have just been diagnosed with diabetes, and I heard about the pancreas transplant. Does this work? If so, how does one get it? What is the latest on any cure for the disease? Is there hope?


There is always hope. People with diabetes are living longer, healthier lives. The problem is that diabetes is very complex and different forms are present. These include type 1 versus type 2 diabetes. If you have type 1 diabetes, you need to be on insulin all the time and failure to get it will cause you to be very sick. Type 2 diabetes is more common and can be treated with oral medications, in addition to insulin.

Pancreas transplants are very successful, but they are usually performed on individuals with type 1 diabetes who also have to have a kidney transplant. This procedure is done at very specialized centers.


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