Ask the Expert: Islet Cell Transplantation
Transplantation of isolated pancreatic islets of Langerhans is a promising treatment for patients severely affected with type 1 diabetes. According to the estimates released by the Centers for Disease Control in January 2011, 25.8 million or 8.3 percent of the U.S. population is affected by diabetes. About 5 percent to 10 percent of the diabetic patients are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and are dependent on insulin administration to sustain life.
This specialized cellular transplant procedure is only offered through ongoing clinical trials at a handful of selected medical centers across the United States, including Baylor University Medical Center and Baylor All Saints Medical Center at Fort Worth. Previous research has shown that experience in islet isolation is critical to the success of an islet transplant center. Baylor’s islet cell transplant program was the first in Texas to receive approval by the Food and Drug Administration to independently process pancreatic islet cells for transplantation in 2006.
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