Pancreatic Islet Transplants

Although in this blog I have talked about a variety of potential cures for diabetes, few of them have actually been fully proven to work. One temporary cure, however, has been developed and is being carried out across the globe.

Pancreatic islet transplants are a way of getting insulin production in a diabetic’s body to rise again through the transplantation of pancreatic islets (otherwise known as islets of Langerhans), which “are tiny clusters of cells scattered throughout the pancreas”(1). They “contain several types of cells, including beta cells (which produce the hormone insulin)(1)” that, if successfully transplanted into the body, can start producing insulin. After two transplants, the diabetic usually does not need to do any more insulin injections, though this varies from person to person. However, pancreatic islet transplants are usually only given to diabetics who can easily fall into a severe hypo without noticing (this problem is called hypoglycaemic unawareness). Despite the fact that these transplants carry low risks, they “involve a small but increased risk of certain cancers, severe infections and other side-effects related to the medication needed to prevent the islets from being rejected by the body”(2). Nonetheless, this method of curing diabetes has been proven to be effective, and I hope that even more diabetics will have the chance to experience a life without diabetes.

Sources

(1)http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/pancreaticislet/

(2) http://www.diabetes.org.uk/Guide-to-diabetes/What-is-diabetes/Diabetes-treatments/#islets

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One thought on “Pancreatic Islet Transplants

  1. Pingback: Nanoscience and Diabetes | Type 1 Diabetes: Looking For a Cure

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