October 1, 2013

Vacation for Islets Before Transplantation

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isle-restA new study published in Diabetes shows how a short period of rest and reset before transplantation increases the success rate for these life-changing cells  for people with T1D.

Isolation cam be a good thing. If you are an islet that has just been harvested from a donor to be transplanted into a person with T1D, this study is showing that a short period of isolation may look good for you insofar as durability and productivity.

Before the islets were transplanted into the recipients body, they were given a short period whereby the cells were completely removed from the donor’s body, held in a neutral solutions, and the cells were reset before transplantation.

The new approach resulted in increased levels of insulin production to the degree that patients were able to discontinue daily insulin injections. Other islet cell transplants usually occur within several hours of harvesting.

Researchers believe that the new technique allowed the extracted islets to rest in a controlled environment for three days prior to transplant. Upon extraction from the donor, islets endure inflammation that can result in ultimate transplant rejection.

The resting period also resulted in a more efficient process by requiring fewer islet cells.  Historically, islet cell transplants have required cells from two or more donors. Despite fewer islet cells being transplanted, the new approach resulted in significantly improved islet cell function.

Fewer islets needed for transplants, less inflammation increasing success rates. Never before have I been able to correlate more rest for a greater outcome in productivity. This study goes to show that we mustn’t underestimate the power of rest.

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