Islets of Langerhans transplant

04 Apr

was just surfing the net, when i found this article on a possible treatment for type 1 diabetics.

we know that type 1 diabetes is insulin-dependant diabetes, where patients do not produce enough insulin. they need to inject insulin to regulate their glucose metabolism.

so it seems that scientists have got this way of transplanting islet cells (which produce insulin) from a donor. problem is, as with any other transplantations, the reciepient needs to be on immunosuppresant drugs. and doctors say, for islets cells transplant, the patient needs to be on these drugs for life.

wouldnt it be easier to be on jabs instead? but i can understand why some ppl might prefer to go for the transplant instead. forgetting to inject yourself can result in very dire situations. loss of consciousness and even death in extreme cases because of the hypoglycemic conditions. so, i can understand why some would prefer to be on drugs and have the transplant. since the transplant would work as normally as the original pancreas would.


so here’s the procedure in a brief:

doctors find a donor’s pancreas, isolate the islet cells, clean and purify it.

and then after that, the docs start their work on the patient, who will be conscious btw. though locally anethesized. a catheter is put through the abomen and then through the hepatic portal vein. and a teaspoon of islet cells will be passed through the portal vein. once the cells travel through the bloodstream and gets implanted at the liver, the islet cells will start to produce insulin, as normal.

Drawing of two body torsos showing the infusion of islets extracted from a donor pancreas into a transplant recipient.

interesting eh… first time i heard of this, though it seems to have been in practice for quite a few yrs now… islets cells transplant..


Posted by on April 4, 2010 in i-Bio


2 responses to “Islets of Langerhans transplant

  1. ck

    April 4, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    hmm if the patient forgets to take the immunosuppressant drugs, wouldn’t the body produce an immune response which can destroy the foreign islets of langerhans. and because the liver is directly involved..i figured many other homeostatic balances will be disrupted. interesting..gonna read up more on this ! 🙂


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