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January 17, 2003

Transplants

Question from Cliffwood Beach, New Jersey, USA:

I heard about cell transplants for type 1 diabetes and my questions are: Where are they currently with cell transplants for type 1 diabetes? Will this be available for children of all ages? Is there any specific target date for this procedure to be a total success?

Answer:

About two years ago, a group in Edmonton made a big step forward in islet cell transplantation, but there are still problems in that it took the cells from two and sometimes three donors to achieve success and it still requires lifetime immunosuppression. Quite a lot of progress however is being made in producing surrogate cells of some kind including stem cells and developing graft tolerance with much simpler and shorter immunomodulation.

Just when some of these ideas will reach the stage of approval for children is hard to say; but they could well be available for your child before the college years. In the meantime, much is happening with new insulins, new ways of giving insulin, and monitoring control.

DOB

[Editor’s comment: A listing of the centers doing such research may be found at President Announces New Investment in Diabetes Research, Treatment, and Prevention.

WWQ]