Islet Cell Transplantation: Can It Facilitate Insulin Independence?

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Islet Cell Transplantation: Can It Facilitate Insulin Independence?
Islet Cell Transplantation: Can It Facilitate Insulin Independence?
By Jessica Kaylor, BA, and John S. Steinberg, DPM

In Conclusion

The most crucial area for improvement of islet cell transplantation is in the development of immunosuppressant drugs that minimize system-wide immunosuppression while fostering better acceptance of transplanted islet cells. Perhaps the most promising possibility is the potential use of stem cells to eliminate problems with availability of islet cells.7,8 Nevertheless, the development of cells — that produce insulin like the beta cells of the pancreas — from stem cells will undoubtedly be the subject of continued research.

   Clearly, at this point, islet cell transplantation is not a practical cure for those diagnosed with diabetes. However, this type of advanced therapy and research represent the great strides that have been made to discover methods of establishing insulin independence for patients with diabetes.

Ms. Kaylor is a Research Intern at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC.

Dr. Steinberg (pictured at left) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Plastic Surgery at the Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.


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