People with type 1 diabetes ( also known as diabetes mellitus ) do not produce any insulin, their body’s immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells. As a result, in order to manage blood sugar levels, they must take man-made insulin multiple times daily or wear an insulin pump, carbohydrate counting, and frequently test their blood sugar.The reason for that is their bodies no longer make this hormone. Islet Cell Transplant for Diabetes: What It Is and Who’s Eligible
Nowadays, scientists are trying to find the ways to transplant these cells to help those with diabetes wean off insulin. Luckily, they are likely close to explore creating human cells ( insulin-making cells) from stem cells. This is a developing area of research and now is applied for animal studies first. Howerver, established islet cell transplantion has two more types that are being used in carefully selected people with diabetes.
What is islet cell transplantion?
Pancreatic islet cell transplant, alo called beta cell transplant is an experimental treatment in which people with type 1 diabetes are transplanted beta cells ( from human donors or cell created in the lab ) into their body. These beta cells are hoped to have the function as normal beta cells – to secrete insulin and help regulate blood glucose. Until now, the deceased donor islet cells which are transplanted into patients can make insulin independent for multiple years. However, the scarcity and quality of donor islet cells are the main limitations of this remedy. Besides, it is not until transplantation technology is considered successful enough to be labeled therapeutic that cell trancplantation is just still an experimental procedure.
Transplantation has two types : allo-transplantation and auto-transplantation.
What is auto-transplantation?
The patients with severe and chronic pancreatitis who cannot be managed by other treatments are the main candidates for this type of transplantation.This treatment totally remove the pancreas in patients to maintain insulin production and secretion because removal of the pancreas can make a person have more diabetes.
One important note is that this type of transplantation is not suitable for patients with type 1 diabetes.
Allo-transplantation as appropriate?
This type of transplantation involves the process of taking islet cells from a deceased donor and purifying them. The cells can be processed and transfered into the recipient after being purified.
Patients with type 1 diabetes whose blood sugars are very difficult to control are the certain candidate for this type of transplantation. Transplantation would help patients balance their blood sugars ( have the normal blood sugar ) without taking insulin injections or infusions, or at least would reduce the amount of insulin needed. Reducing hypoglycemia that is a dangerous condition in which people cannot sense their low blood sugar is another goal of this treatment.
Typically, an average of 400,000 to 500,000 islets is taken into transplant patients per infusion. Normally, patients receive two infusions. The beta cells in these islets will begin to make and release insulin after being implanted. However, this process also has limitations and uncertainties as other treatments.
Not all hospitals are conducted allo-transplants. Only hospitals which have the permission from the United States Food and Drug Administration ( FDA ) can research on islet transplantation. The people who can perform the transplants are typically a radiologist, a doctor who specializes in medical imagining,… The placement of a catheter such as a thin, plastic tube will be guided through a small incision in the upper stomach into the portal vein by using x-rays and ultrasound imagining. The islet cells are slowly pushed through after the catheter has been inserted. During the procedure, patients use local anethesia and a sedative.
It is believed that 350 to 750 million is a number of cells that a patient needs to stop the use of insulin altogether. This is the reason why most patients need multiple transplants.
The researcher have come to the conclusion that islet all-transplants are much less invasive when they are compared to whole organ transplantation. If a patient is successfully allo-transplanted, his/her blood suger glucose control would improve, they can limit or reduce insulin use for extended periods of time. Patients don’t need to inject insulin or infuse insulin through a pump multiple time a day anymore. In addition, allo-transplantation can also help patients feel symptoms such as sweating, shaking, increased heartbeat, anxiety, or hunger.
Risks and limitations method
There is a chance that the cells transplanted into patients may not work well or not work at all, or not work right away. It may take time to start functioning properly. As a result, until the cells begin to work properly, recipients must still take insulin into their bodies.
Another risk is that the person’s native cells can be destroyed or be triggered to attack the new cells.
The main limitation of islet transplantation is the lack of islet cells from donors and that leads to be costly.
Expectations for the future
Islet cell transplantation is gradually perfected. “ are we close to the cure of diabetes” is always the question we want to be answered. It is hoped that perfecting this method would be one step closer to curing diabetes.