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A Journal on Surgery

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Minerva Chirurgica 2009 February;64(1):59-73

language: English

Prospects for future advancements in islet cell transplantation

Sabek O.M., Hamilton D.J., Gaber A.O.

1 Department of Surgery Weill Cornell Medical College The Methodist Research Institute Houston TX USA
2 Diabetes Heart Program Weill Cornell Medical College The Methodist Hospital Houston Tx USA


Islet cell transplantation holds great promise for treating patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM), and for preventing unstable metabolic state commonly refereed to as brittle diabetes in patients that undergo pancreatic resection given that it is a relatively noninvasive procedure and an attractive alternative to pancreas transplantation for restoring endogenous insulin secretion. The success of recent clinical trials for allogeneic islet transplantation as well as the increasing centers that perform auto-transplantation is showing that the beta cell replacement therapy for the treatment of patients with diabetes or total pancreatectomy has been firmly established. It needs only to be improved and made more widely available to the millions of desperate patients who search for alternatives to a life of insulin injections, hypoglycemia and the risks of end-organ damage. Steady progress has been achieved in recent years in different areas in the pancreatic islet transplantation process including islet cell processing, preservation, and immune therapies that justify optimism. To implement this therapeutic approach to larger cohorts of patients that would benefit from the restoration of beta cell function requires multiple interventions and the standardization of the different stages of islet transplant process. This article will review the possible areas of intervention and the ongoing research toward this important goal.

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