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Permanent Cure for Diabetes without Taking Insulin – New Research
A new research seems promising in curing the Diabetes type 1 permanently through Pancreatic Islet Transplantation.
Islets are clusters of cells in the pancreas that make insulin which helps to convert food into energy. Only 1-2% of the pancreas is made up of islet cells. In juvenile diabetes autoimmune response of body starts destroying cells of pancreas.
Diabetes cure by islet transplantation (Edmonton Protocol )
In pancreatic islet transplantation, cells are taken from a donor pancreas and transferred into another person. Once implanted, the new islets begin to make and release insulin. Researchers hope that islet transplantation will help people with type 1 diabetes live without daily injections of insulin.
Procedure of islet Transplantation:
In this procedure, researchers use specialized enzymes to remove islets from the pancreas of a deceased donor. For an average-size person (70 kg), a typical transplant requires about 1 million islets, equal to two donor organs. Because the islets are extremely fragile, transplantation occurs immediately after they are removed.
The transplant itself is easy and takes less than an hour to complete. The surgeon uses ultrasound to guide placement of a small plastic tube (catheter) through the upper abdomen and into the liver. The islets are then injected through the catheter into the liver. The patient will receive a local anesthetic. If a patient cannot tolerate local anesthesia, the surgeon may use general anesthesia and do the transplant through a small incision.
It takes some time for the cells to attach to new blood vessels and begin releasing insulin. The doctor will order many tests to check blood glucose levels after the transplant, and insulin may be needed until control is achieved.
Benefits and Risks of Islet Transplantation
Immunosuppressive or anti-rejection drugs are needed to keep the transplanted islets functioning. Researchers do not fully know what long-term effects these drugs may have. Also, although the early results of the Edmonton Protocol are very encouraging, more research is needed to answer questions about how long the islets will survive and how often the transplantation procedure will be successful.
However, transplanting islet cells has several advantages over transplanting a pancreas. First, unlike the pancreas transplant, an islet transplant is a minor surgical procedure, is less expensive, and is probably safer. Second, scientists may learn how to protect these cells from attack by the immune system.
Several methods are already under study. If successful, the person with an islet transplant would not need to take immunosuppressant. Surgery would then be safer and more effective for many people with type 1 diabetes.
There is also continuing research on the transplantation of animal islets. Because the supply of human islets is severely limited, even the most successful method of human islet transplantation could only cure a small fraction of the people with diabetes through existing sources of human islets from donor pancreases. If islets from animal sources (for example, pigs) could be made to work successfully, a cure would be available for everyone.
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