Background: The effect of islet cell transplantation (ICT) on the progression of diabetic microvascular complications is not well understood.
Methods: We have conducted a prospective, crossover, cohort study comparing ICT with intensive medical therapy on the progression of diabetic nephropathy, retinopathy, and neuropathy.
Results: The rate of decline in glomerular filtration rate is slower after ICT than on medical therapy. There was significantly more progression of retinopathy in medically treated patients than post-ICT. There was a nonsignificant trend for improved nerve conduction velocity post-ICT.
Conclusions: ICT is associated with less progression of microvascular complications than intensive medical therapy. Multicenter, randomized trials are needed to further study the role of ICT in slowing the progression of diabetic complications.