Current status of clinical islet cell transplantation

Methods Mol Biol. 2006;333:47-104. doi: 10.1385/1-59745-049-9:47.


Clinical outcomes of pancreas transplantation were superior to that of islet transplantation until the introduction of the Edmonton protocol. Significant advances in islet isolation and purification technology, novel immunosuppression and tolerance strategies, and effective antiviral prophylaxis have renewed interest in clinical islet transplantation for the treatment of diabetes mellitus. The introduction of a steroid-free antirejection protocol and islets prepared from two donors led to high rates of insulin independence. The Edmonton protocol has been successfully replicated by other centers in an international multicenter trial. A number of key refinements in pancreas transportation, islet preparation, and newer immunological conditioning and induction therapies have led to continued advancement through extensive collaboration between key centers. This chapter provides an overview of the history of islet transplantation followed by a discussion of the state of the art of clinical islet transplantation. The challenges facing the clinician-scientist in the 21st century are also presented in this review.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / immunology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / surgery*
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression Therapy / methods
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Islets of Langerhans Transplantation / history
  • Islets of Langerhans Transplantation / methods*
  • Islets of Langerhans Transplantation / trends


  • Insulin