Type 1s Live Insulin-Free For Up to Two Years, Thanks to Transplanted Human Islet Cells... But There's a Catch

Researchers believe that immunosuppressants may have an effect on how long transplanted islet cells can function before losing their effectiveness.

May 30, 2008

HealthDay reports that according to a University of Miami study, people with type 1 diabetes who received transplanted islet cells from human donors lived insulin-free for up to two years.

The bad news is that the patients must take immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of their lives, even as the functionality of the transplanted cells almost totally declines.

The good news is that even after the patients resume using insulin, their metabolic control tends to be better than before the transplants.

The study, by the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, used continuous glucose monitoring to track blood glucose levels in 25 patients, 12 of whom received islet cell transplants and 13 of whom acted as study controls.

Candidates for the study were type 1s who had experienced poor blood sugar control and severe recurrent hypoglycemic episodes.

After the transplants, patients stayed insulin-free for an average of 18 months. Forty percent of the study’s subjects were insulin-free at 24 months. Their A1c levels improved dramatically, from an average of 7.6% before transplantation to 5.5% within 90 days afterward.

When the effect of the transplants wore off, patients who had to return to taking insulin used significantly less than before and had considerably fewer episodes of hypoglycemia.

Researchers believe that immunosuppressants may have an effect on how long transplanted islet cells can function before losing their effectiveness. If so, the search is on for drugs with a much less drastic effect.

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Posted by Anonymous on 18 December 2008

This is the most ridiculous procedure that I have ever heard of. Not will only the Diabetes return but you will have to take immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of your life which will ultimately destroy ALL of your organs and will result into an untimely early death. Where do I sign up?????????

It is very obvious that these so-called "Doctors" are using people as guinea pigs. If these Doctors were in the same situation I wonder if they would ever try taking these immunosuppressant drugs themselves or give it to their family members. The answer would probably a big resounding "NO".

As a Type 1 Diabetic for 20+ years this news is VERY disappointing and barbaric. Anyone going through this procedure
will be like signing your own death certificate.

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