A matching algorithm for the distribution of human pancreatic islets

Comput Stat Data Anal. 2007 Aug;51(12):5494-5506. doi: 10.1016/j.csda.2007.02.030.


The success of human pancreatic islet transplantation in a subset of type 1 diabetic patients has led to an increased demand for this tissue in both clinical and basic research, yet the availability of such preparations is limited and the quality highly variable. Under the current process of islet distribution for basic science experimentation nationwide, specialized laboratories attempt to distribute islets to one or more scientists based on a list of known investigators. This Local Decision Making (LDM) process has been found to be ineffective and suboptimal. To alleviate these problems, a computerized Matching Algorithm for Islet Distribution (MAID) was developed to better match the functional, morphological, and quality characteristics of islet preparations to the criteria desired by basic research laboratories, i.e. requesters. The algorithm searches for an optimal combination of requesters using detailed screening, sorting, and search procedures. When applied to a data set of 68 human islet preparations distributed by the Islet Cell Resource (ICR) Center Consortium, MAID reduced the number of requesters that a) did not receive any islets, and b) received mis-matched shipments. These results suggest that MAID is an improved more efficient approach to the centralized distribution of human islets within a consortium setting.