Regulatory challenges in manufacturing of pancreatic islets

Transplant Proc. 2008 Mar;40(2):424-6. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2008.01.027.


At the present time, transplantation of pancreatic islet cells is considered an experimental therapy for a selected cohort of patients with type 1 diabetes, and is conducted under an Investigational New Drug (IND) application. Encouraging results of the Edmonton Protocol published in the year 2000 sparked a renewed interest in clinical transplantation of allogeneic islets, triggering a large number of IND applications for phase I clinical trials. Promising results reported by a number of centers since then prompted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to consider the possibility of licensing allogeneic islets as a therapeutic treatment for patients with type 1 diabetes. However, prior to licensure, issues such as safety, purity, efficacy, and potency of the islet product must be addressed. This is complicated by the intricate nature of pancreatic islets and limited characterization prior to transplantation. In this context, control of the manufacturing process plays a critical role in the definition of the final product. Despite significant progress made in standardization of the donor organ preservation methods, reagents used, and characterization assays performed to qualify an islet cell product, control of the isolation process remains a challenge. Within the scope of the FDA regulations, islet cells meet the definition of a biologic product, somatic cell therapy, and a drug. In addition, AABB standards that address cellular therapy products apply to manufacturing facilities accredited by this organization. Control of the source material, isolation process, and final product are critical issues that must be addressed in the context of FDA and other relevant regulations applicable to islet cell products.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / surgery
  • Humans
  • Islets of Langerhans / cytology*
  • Islets of Langerhans / physiology*
  • Islets of Langerhans Transplantation / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Islets of Langerhans Transplantation / methods
  • Patient Selection
  • Tissue Donors
  • Transplantation, Homologous / legislation & jurisprudence
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration