Woman with type 1 diabetes still off insulin one year after cell transplant
Scientists report a step forward in the plan to create a truly artificial pancreas, offering new hope to people with type 1 diabetes.
A 43-year-old single mother with dangerously difficult-to-control diabetes had insulin-producing islet cells transplanted into her omentum -- a fatty membrane in the belly.
The cells began producing insulin faster than expected, and after one year she is doing well and doesn't need insulin injections, the University of Miami researchers said.
"We're exploring a way to optimize islet cell therapy to a larger population. This study gives us hope for a different transplant approach," said the study's lead author, Dr. David Baidal. He's an assistant professor in the university's Diabetes Research Institute.
Others voiced optimism as well. "This study was a good start at evaluating a novel site for transplant," said Julia Greenstein, vice president of discovery research for JDRF (formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. That means the body's immune system mistakenly damages healthy cells -- in this case, the islet cells found in the pancreas. This leaves people with type 1 diabetes without enough insulin to convert sugars from foods into energy for the body.
As a result, they must take multiple daily insulin injections, or use a pump that delivers insulin via a tube inserted under the skin that must be changed every few days.
Currently, islet cells from deceased donors are transplanted into the liver, but that's not an ideal option.
This new research was a proof-of-concept study expected to be Continue reading