October 28, 2013

Transplanting Islets into Bone Marrow


landing-padThe location for islets have been toyed with for decades. Although they have been transplanted to the liver, some people cannot sustain this procedure based on their liver health. New research is finding that a potential landing zone for transplanted islets could be the bone marrow, as published in Diabetes.

Historically, transplanted islets have been transfused  through the portal vein, which allows them to graft onto the liver. Once they are nestled into the surface of the liver they can begin regulating glucose and secreting insulin. People with liver issues that cannot endure a portal vein infusion may benefit from this alternative site for islets.

Researchers tested the bone marrow as a site for islet transplantation. In the rare situation of a pancreotectomy or pancreas removal, these people developed diabetes. Tests after the bone marrow transplant show evidence of endocrine tissue, C-peptide levels, and active insulin-producing cells.

Furthermore, no adverse events were reported in this study. How long did these islets show to be functional? The researchers continued to follow-up 944 days, and all were working fine in the 18 month follow-up.

The truth is this may not be an ideal situation for all people needing islet transplants. However for the people who cannot sustain islets on their liver, this might be the perfect home, sweet home.  .

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