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Re: [IPk] islets transplants - non pump message

As a follow-up to the discussions on the recent islet cell transplants, I
received a letter from the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation this morning. The
following paragraphs may be of interest:

>The Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International applauds Dr James Shapiro
>and his research team at the University of Alberta for their work in
>successfully transplanting human pancreatic islets into eight people who
>had Type 1 diabetes. The new protocol is a very significant step forward
>in curing Type 1 diabetes. The protocol used in the clinical trial at the
>University of Alberta, now referred to as the Edmonton Protocol, uses a
>novel steroid-free combination of three drugs (Tacrolimus, Sirolimus, and
>Daclizumab) which together prevents rejection and also prevents the
>autoimmune diabetes from coming back. Dr Jonathan Lakey, Director of the
>Human Islet Isolation Laboratory at the University of Alberta, extracts
>cells from the pancreases of organ donors and Dr Shapiro, Associate
>Professor of Surgery and Director, Clinical Islet and Pancreas Transplant
>Programmes at the University of Alberta, transplants them into patients
>with Type 1. The transplants involve a simple injection procedure that
>does not require surgery. The cells are placed into the liver through the
>portal vein. The cells migrate to the liver where, even though they are in
>a different organ, take root and produce sufficient insulin and almost
>perfect control of blood sugar.
>In his address today at a scientific meeting of the JDF in Washington, DC,
>Dr Shapiro was quick to point out this therapy is not for everyone and
>should only be used right now in patients who have truly failed at
>injected insulin treatment. The eight patients in the trial, aged 29-53,
>had severe low blood sugar induced blackouts (hypoglycaemia). All of the
>patients in the trial continue to take the novel drug combination. Until
>longer term results are availbale, we will not be able to determine the
>safety of this protocol in children.
>One of the main problems with transplanting islets is the limited supply
>and the need for the quality to be more consistent.

>From JDF International statement on the Edmonton Protocol, 19 May 2000.

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