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Review
, 13 (47), 6347-55

Transplantation for the Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes

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Review

Transplantation for the Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes

R Mark Meloche. World J Gastroenterol.

Abstract

Transplantation of pancreatic tissue, as either the intact whole pancreas or isolated pancreatic islets has become a clinical option to be considered in the treatment of patients with type 1 insulin-dependant diabetes mellitus. A successful whole pancreas or islet transplant offers the advantages of attaining normal or near normal blood glucose control and normal hemoglobin A1c levels without the risks of severe hypoglycemia associate with intensive insulin therapy. Both forms of transplants are also effective at eliminating the occurrence of significant hypoglycemic events (even with only partial islet function evident). Whereas whole pancreas transplantation has also been shown to be very effective at maintaining a euglycemic state over a sustained period of time, thus providing an opportunity for a recipient to benefit from improvement of their blood glucose control, it is associated with a significant risk of surgical and post-operative complications. Islet transplantation is attractive as a less invasive alternative to whole pancreas transplant and offers the future promise of immunosuppression-free transplantation through pre-transplant culture. Islet transplantation however, may not always achieve the sustained level of tight glucose control necessary for reducing the risk of secondary diabetic complications and exposes the patient to the adverse effects of immunosuppression. Although recent advances have led to an increased rate of obtaining insulin-independence following islet transplantation, further developments are needed to improve the long-term viability and function of the graft to maintain improved glucose control over time.

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