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Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2010 Sep;39(3):655-67. doi: 10.1016/j.ecl.2010.05.010.

Update on transplanting beta cells for reversing type 1 diabetes.

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  • 1Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Pacific Northwest Diabetes Research Institute, University of Washington, 720 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122, USA.


Whole pancreas has been used successfully for transplantation for more than 30 years, and islets have been used reproducibly with success for 10 years; both procedures require drugs for immunosuppression. Success is judged by discontinuation of exogenous insulin-based treatment and maintenance of normal or nearly normal hemoglobin A1c. Successful pancreas transplantation has beneficial effects on retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy, macrovascular disease, and quality of life. Such findings are suggested for islet transplantation, but insufficient information is available to draw firm conclusions. Because of the paucity of annual pancreas donations, research for human beta cell surrogates is essential to provide a transplantation approach to therapy for a greater number of recipients.

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