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Pancreas Cell Transplant

Posted on June 27, 2018 | No Comments on Pancreas Cell Transplant
Success rate for the Edmonton protocol, or the transplantation of processed pancreas cells for type 1 diabetic patients, has improved from two percent in its initial testing to a significant 80 percent in a later study. However, researchers still face the challenge of making the technique effective for a longer time frame.
In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, patients were given processed pancreas cells which belonged to the dead. Forty-four of the 36 patients managed to do without insulin a year after the transplantation but most of them became insulin-dependent again after two years.
Medical experts, including head of the study James Shapiro, believe that the transplanted pancreas cells were spread too thinly. Shapiro likened the processed pancreas cells with an overworked engine that would inevitably break down.
“We’ve only got a small number of cells that end up engrafting and they all have to work at maximum capacity,” the research head said in the article. There is no doubt that transplanted pancreas cells make life more convenient for type 1 diabetics by aiding in proper management of blood sugar, only that the effect is short-lived.
Based on the findings, pancreas cells transplant still needs further research to improve the success rate for long-term treatment of type 1 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, pancreas cells are destroyed so that the body can no longer produce insulin. As a result, patients need to rely on insulin to keep their blood sugar in check. Regular pancreas transplant or whole organ transplant, in contrast with processed pancreas cells, has a 50-70 percent success rate for a five-year period.

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