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Islet cell transplants see near-normal glucose without insulin after ten years

A new study shows that a group of adults with type 1 diabetes did not need insulin for 10 years on average and maintains near normal blood glucose levels, thanks to the islet cell transplant.

Islet transplantation is the place where isolated islets – groups of pancreatic beta cells producing insulin – from a donor are transplanted.

Researchers at the University of Miami's Institute for Diabetes Research have used continuous glucose monitoring to monitor transplant performance in five people with type 1 diabetes.

The results showed trends in glucose control, which were close to normal, as well as ideal time measurements in the range.

Participants received islet transplants in the liver (intrahepatic islet graft) from 2002 to 2010, and then were insulin dependent for seven to more than 16 years.

The researchers performed a seven-day evaluation with participants wearing a continuous blood glucose monitor to assess glucose levels during follow-up. Blood glucose data were compared to those of adults with type 1 diabetes who did not have a transplant but used the latest diabetes technology (closed-loop hybrid system) to better control their diabetes.

The results of the comparison showed that each of the grafted participants had an improvement in blood glucose over time, a lower variability in blood glucose and reduced exposure to low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia).

The participants were chosen as those who had achieved great success after the transplant. Although these participants have achieved exceptional results, islet cell transplantation is not a guarantee of not receiving insulin injections for many years. Many people who undergo the transplant must start taking exogenous insulin (insulin that is not produced by the body itself) after months or even years, depending on their personal situation.

Dr. David Baidal, one of the principal investigators of the study, said: "Thanks to continuous glucose monitoring, we are now able to accurately assess patient glucose profiles. and their variability The CGM data obtained from our islet transplant patients clearly demonstrate that islet transplantation can lead to glucose levels close to those of people without type 1 diabetes, even 10 years or more after undergoing the cell replacement procedure. "

Dr. Camillo Ricordi, Professor of Surgery Joy Goodman and Director of the Institute for Diabetes Research, has been named Best Researcher in the field of Islet Transplantation. Commenting on the study, he said, "This report confirms the superiority of insulin-producing cell transplantation compared with insulin therapy, with glucose control results exceeding CGM objectives." in closed loop hybrid systems.

"I hope this will help bring transplantation of islets closer to FDA approval, thus allowing American patients to benefit from treatment, as has been the case in several other countries, for many years."

The results of the study were shared at the 79th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association, which took place in San Francisco from June 7 to 11. They will also be presented at the 17th World Congress of the International Pancreatic Transplantation Association, to be held in France between July 2nd and 5th.

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