Girl With Diabetes and Insulin Allergy to Receive Pancreas Transplant
A 12-year old South Carolina girl with Type 1 diabetes and what her parents describe as an intense allergy to insulin therapy is set to undergo a rarely performed whole pancreas transplant at the University of Minnesota.
Jack and Tiffanie Reeves, parents of Emmy, say they will take her on a cross country trip to diabetes camp in California, including a stop at Universal Studios in Orlando to “build memories,” and then move her temporarily to Minnesota with her mother as they wait for a pancreas to become available.
The surgeon who will perform the transplant, Dr. Raja Kandaswamy, Director of the Pancreas and Intestinal Transplant Program at the University of Minnesota , says Emmy’s transplant will be the first one done at his center in the past 15 to perhaps 20 years. And while Kandaswamy points to Emmy’s situation as unique, he also says he feels that pancreas transplantation is an option too few pediatric endocrinologists consider for patients. “There is not as much enthusiasm as there should be,” Kandaswamy said. “The diabetes community is told [with a transplant] they are just trading off one set of risks for another.”
In some cases, he disagrees. “I think it can be a viable choice,” he said.
Kandaswamy said that in recent years, steroid use in transplant patients has been cut down to near zero, meaning less harsh medications after a transplant. “We are looking at a new era of transplant,” he said. “The nature of it has changed.” He added that when islet cell transplantation is approved for minors, he foresees transplantation becoming more po Continue reading