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[IPu] Fw: [IPp] University of Minnesota reports advance in Pancreas Transplanation

Hi All,
Research Article care of Rachel (on the Parents of Pumpers)List
U of M reports advance in diabetes treatment by Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public
Radio February 15, 2005 Drs. David Sutherland, left, and Bernhard Hering, right,
run the Diabetes Institute for Immunology and Transplantation. They've released
new research which shows a promising advance in treatment of Type 1 diabetes.
(Photocourtesy of Children with Diabetes Foundation) Researchers at the
University of Minnesota have moved one step closer togiving people with Type 1
diabetes an insulin-free life. The researchers at the Uof M's Diabetes Institute
for Immunology and Transplantation reversed Type 1 diabetes in several patients
by transplanting insulin-producing cells froma donor pancreas. The procedure has
been done in the past. But until now it's taken more than one pancreas. This
time surgeons were successful with asingle donor. St. Paul, Minn.  It's been
two and a half years since surgeons at the !
  U ofM inserted a tiny cluster of islet cells into Lynn Hopperstad's liver.
Isletcells come from the portion of the pancreas that produces insulin. Once
surgeons transplanted those cells into Hopperstad, her body immediately
startedproducing insulin. The process is remarkable, considering people with
Type 1 diabetes, like Hopperstad, produce little or no insulin at all. "I am no
longer considered diabetic, and the change in my life has beenhuge," says
Hopperstad. Hopperstad was one of eight patients who enrolled in a University
ofMinnesota study to see if an islet transplant from a single pancreas would
work. Islet transplant At first, all eight were able to stop using insulin. Two
years later, Fiveof the eight are still insulin-independent. The findings were
reported in the latest edition of the Journal of American Medical Association.
Hopperstad says she was the perfect candidate for the experimentalprocedure,
because her body couldn't tell her when her blood sugar was low!
 . Diabetics like Hopperstad must take insulin shots and monitor their 
 bloodsugar to prevent swings in blood sugar levels. If they don't regulate
their blood sugar, diabetics increase their chances for kidney failure, stroke
andheart failure.In some cases, patients can't effectively regulate their blood
sugar evenwithinsulin. Without warning, those people could go into a coma or
die.Hopperstadsays she had to test her blood sugar at least seven times a
day."Every time I got in the car I tested my blood sugar. I had to test my
bloodsugar if I was doing yard work. If I was doing any strenuous activity
Iwouldhave to stop after an hour, just to make sure my blood sugar was doing
OK,"saysHopperstad. I am no longer considered diabetic, and the change in my
life has beenhuge.- Lynn Hopperstad, transplant recipientIslet transplants have
been performed successfully since 2000. The procedureissafer and easier than
transplanting an entire pancreas, which is not ascommon aprocedure.In order for
an islet transplant to be successful, surgeons needed to takeis!
  let cells from several donated pancreases. By better matching the
cellsfromdonated organs with patients, and improving technology, the U of
M'sBernhardHering says his team can now do the procedure with one pancreas."What
this study shows is not a cure of diabetes. But it shows very clearlythat with
higher efficiency -- comparable to the efficiency of a pancreastransplant at
least in a select group of recipients -- we can achieve veryfavorable outcomes,"
says Hering.Hering says the findings are important because there aren't enough
organsforpeople who need them. He says showing that the procedure can be
successfulwithone pancreas increases the likelihood that it will be done more
often.The Mayo Clinic's Robert Rizza, president-elect of the American
DiabetesAssociation, says the research is promising. But Izza still worries
therewon'tbe enough donated organs to do a high number of transplants. Izza also
saysresearchers need to learn how long the transplanted cells will be eff!
 ective."The concern is having enough organs. And the second concern is
  being surethatonce the islets or organs are transplanted, that they function
over the longterm," says Rizza.Other researchers say about half of the patients
who received islettransplantsare still insulin-dependent, which raises questions
about whether theprocedureshould be done at all.That's because patients who
receive a transplant still won't lead perfectlyhealthy lives. They'll have to
take anti-rejection medicine for the rest oftheir lives. They're also more
likely to get sick, since they'll have aweakerimmune system.About one million
people in the United States have Type 1 diabetes, whichusually is diagnosed at
an early age. The procedure is not consideredeffectivefor treatment of Type 2
diabetes, which affects 16 million people in theU.S,since people with Type 2
diabetes produce some insulin.Nevertheless, Richard Bergenstal with the
International Diabetes Center atParkNicollet Hospitals says the procedure should
give hope to people with Type 1diabetes."This is going t!
  o be a limited process initially, but at least it's hopefulthat it can
succeed," says Bergenstal. "We need to overcome a few morehurdleson the
immune-suppressing medications you take, and the need for more isletcells. But
at least it gives people hope that it is possible."The U of M's Hering says he
hopes to do another clinical trial with a largernumber of patients. Rachel -
email @ redacted/jracheln
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