New treatment on the horizon for type 1 diabetes sufferers
Patients suffering from type 1 diabetes may soon have access to improved approaches to treat the disease, courtesy of new research out of Sydney's Westmead Institute for Medical Research.
The team of researchers, led by Professor Jenny Gunton, discovered that pancreatic islets transplants delivered into the quadriceps muscle work just as successfully as the current clinical practice of transplanting islets into a patient's liver via the portal vein.
Lead researcher Ms Rebecca Stokes said that transplants into the liver can present certain risks for the patient, so their research investigated safer and more beneficial treatment options for transplant recipients.
"Islets are cells in the pancreas that produce insulin," Ms Stokes explained.
"Pancreatic islet transplantation is used as a cure for type 1 diabetes as it allows the recipient to produce and regulate insulin after their own islet cells have been destroyed by the disease.
"Currently, islet transplants are infused into a patient's liver via the portal vein. This site is used for islet transplants due to its exposure to both nutrients and insulin in the body.
"However, islet infusion into the liver also presents certain risks for the patient, including potential complications from bleeding, blood clots and portal hypertension.
"This suggests that there may be better treatment options for patients receiving islet transplants.
"We investigated alternative transplantation sites for human and mouse islets in recipient mice, comparing the portal vein with quadriceps muscle and kidney, liver and spleen capsules.
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