Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NC woman is now insulin-free after series of three islet cell transplants

09.06.2005


Carolinas Medical Center is one of only 10 facilities nationwide offering this specialized procedure, which is still experimental but offers hope of dramatic lifestyle improvements for a huge number of Type 1 diabetics.



A Davidson woman has been successfully treated for her Type 1 diabetes through a procedure performed at Carolinas Medical Center. Paul F. Gores, M.D., has led a multi-disciplinary team through a series of three pancreatic islet cell transplants since the summer of 2003. The result is a patient who is now insulin-free. "This is a giant step for diabetes research, our transplant team, our patient, and all Type 1 diabetics," said Dr. Gores. "I can’t tell you how exciting it is to be a part of ground-breaking research that could one day change the quality of millions of lives."

Dr. Gores stresses that this procedure, while successful in this case, and an important step in the research that will eventually result in a cure for all insulin-dependent diabetics, is not a cure for everyone. Only a few medical centers in the world – ten in the United States – are currently offering this procedure, which is experimental and done as clinical research.


"A significant challenge remains the scarcity of organ donors," explained Dr. Gores. Also because patients must take immunosuppressive drugs to protect the transplanted tissue from being rejected, the procedure is only for a select group of patients with Type I diabetes. Immunosuppressive drugs have several potentially serious side effects and until a method is discovered that protects the islets and is free of dangerous side effects, the procedure will not be appropriate for the vast majority of diabetic patients.

Islets are cell clusters in the pancreas that determine the body’s need, and release the necessary amount of insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels in the body. In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce that insulin, forcing patients to inject insulin every day. Type 1 diabetes carries with it increased risks of kidney failure, nerve damage, heart disease, and blindness. "Daily insulin shots have been a part of my life for years," relates patient Andrea "Annie" Anderson. "I’m still getting used to life without finger pricks and needle sticks. I feel so fortunate to have received this procedure and for it to have been successful."

Before the transplant, islet cells are collected from a donor pancreas through a complex purification process. Physicians then insert a catheter into the patient’s abdomen, and using x-ray guidance, thread it into the portal vein, which carries blood to the liver. About a teaspoonful of islet cells are injected through the catheter. The cells disperse throughout the liver where it is intended that they will live and produce insulin. The patient is alert during the process but receives local anesthesia to numb the skin where the catheter is inserted. Most patients stay in the recovery area for a few hours, and are able to go home within a day or two. As in Annie’s case, more than one transfusion of islet cells may be needed.

"Islet transplantation has been in the experimental stage for more than 25 years," said Dr. Gores. "It’s considered a treatment rather than a cure, although in several recent studies, islet cell transplantation has been successful enough for some people with Type 1 diabetes to completely stop taking insulin injections. For Anderson this is a dream come true."

CMC’s islet cell transplant research is being funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The Transplant Center at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte has been active in transplantation since 1970 when the first kidney transplant was performed here. The program has grown steadily and today includes programs transplanting heart, liver, kidney and pancreas.

The islet transplant teams consist of surgeons, nephrologists (physicians specializing in kidney disease), transplant coordinators, scientists, social workers, dietitians and pharmacists. In 2004, the Transplant Center performed 83 kidney, 17 heart, 24 liver, and 5 kidney/pancreas transplants.

Raymond C. Jones | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.carolinas.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves
17.08.2018 | Leibniz Universität Hannover

nachricht First transcription atlas of all wheat genes expands prospects for research and cultivation
17.08.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>