Rising demand for islet transplantation will lead to severe donor shortage in the near future, especially in countries where cadaveric organ donation is scarce. We undertook a successful transplantation of living-donor islets for unstable diabetes. The recipient was a 27-year-old woman who had had brittle, insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus for 12 years. The donor, who was a healthy 56-year-old woman and mother of the recipient, underwent a distal pancreatectomy. After isolation, 408 114 islet equivalents were transplanted immediately. The transplants functioned immediately and the recipient became insulin-independent 22 days after the operation. The donor had no complications and both women showed healthy glucose tolerance. Transplantation of living-donor islets from the distal pancreas can be sufficient to reverse brittle diabetes.