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May 11, 2005

Research: Cure

Question from Wayland, Massachusetts, USA:

With the recent success of a live donor transplant, and encapsulating the islets to prevent immunosuppression drugs, when do you realistically view this being available to my child? I am a healthy, 45 year old woman with a seven year old child diagnosed with type 1 diabetes a little over a year ago. There is no history of diabetes on my side of the family, I am in good shape and would make a good donor for my daughter.

Answer:

Success with pancreas and islet transplants is not new, but we are looking for ways to do so without having to use immune suppression. Nobody can tell for sure exactly when we will have enough scientific information to allow this to become more routine and, fortunately or unfortunately, such science takes many years before success can be assured, risks really documented to be negative or negligible. So, I am afraid that we cannot answer such questions, only keep working to maximize such research efforts.

SB