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[IPk] Re: Islet Cell Transplants

Hi Helen,

Islet Cell Transplants are still in their very early stages in the UK - they
arew still experimantal and done only as part of research programmes into
the technique. I recently discussed the subject with Profeser Amiel from KCH
which is one of the centres involved. They have transplanted two patients,
the first case is not totally insulin independent but requires a lot less
insulin and no longer has crippling hypos. The second was carried out in
October and is apparently waiting the second transplant. 

The problems with ICT are that it requires the islet cells from more than
one person to make someone insulin independent and the process must usually
be repeated more than once - so curing everyone wih diabetes is certainly
not an option at the moment. In addition highly skilled teams are required
since extracting the islet cells is a difficult job, and the surgery carries
risks if not done by highly skilled liver specialists

The other big problem is that sucess requires immunosupression for life. The
current regime involves, I believe, three drugs. Immunosupression is not a
great thing, and it could well be that one set of problems is exchanged for

As for the criteria - one of the major ones is that you must be insulin
sensitive enough for it to work. It is also generally recommended for people
who have problems with recurrent sever hypoglycaemia, as they have the
greatest chance of success. 

As I say, I know that Kings are doing transplants (and believe me, I'd go
for it if it weren't for the immunosupression!) but I'm not sure where the
other UK centres are.


Type 1 20+, MM pumper 1.5+

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