Artificial Pancreas

By gatp Latest Reply 2012-05-17 11:05:00 -0500
Started 2012-05-12 19:38:09 -0500

I have always wondered why patients can't receive transfusions or perhaps transplants of normal ilets of langerhans. Wouldn't that solve a lot of problems?

6 replies

Nick1962 2012-05-14 09:23:21 -0500 Report

This has been studied for many years and successful in some cases. Part of the problem is that if the donor and recipient are not genetically similar, the rejection rate is high even with immunosupressant drugs. As late as the 1990's only 10% of transplant subjects got what could be called "normal" blood glucose ranges and that was through huge amounts of transplants.
It's getting there.

gatp 2012-05-14 18:47:09 -0500 Report

I see. It is interesting to know this information so I can stop dreaming. I wonder about the transplant of fetal pancreas'. I know this is unpopular but in the case of spontaneous A/B, it maybe something to consider.

kdroberts 2012-05-15 22:01:03 -0500 Report

Other than the rejection issue you have to consider what destroyed the pancreas to start with. In a type 1, even if there was a 0% rejection rate without drugs, the autoimmune attack would still be present and would do exactly the same thing to the new pancreas as it did to the old one.

People do get pancreas and stem cell transplants and they do work, just not long term or very well so it's only really used as a lat resort in extreme cases for research.

Nick1962 2012-05-15 17:45:24 -0500 Report

It is possible that's been looked at, and that's where the "ethics" of stem cell research blur for me. I was primarily against it, but being able to grow/regenerate a pancreas I would see as attractive.
The research being done now is just amazing to me as well as technology. Some research has found that the Islets once thought dead in the pancreas may just be "sleeping", and that if one undergoes a partial pancreatectomy, these islets "wake up" and go into service. It's been found in rats that decreased blood flow can affect islet function, but it's not been studied on humans.
Of course technology also brought us the CGM (continuous glucose monitor), so I'm thnking a combination of micro monitor/delivery system can't be far behind- a robotic pancreas. This is already being done as a drug delivery system for orthopedic implants which is triggered by mechanical stimulation.
There is so much out there that yes, maybe you can stop dreaming!

gatp 2012-05-16 22:09:22 -0500 Report

The idea of a sleeping pancreas sounds right to me because I keep my sugar in very good control, but once in awhile if I am sick or something it goes up and then I find that the pancreas will knock the sugar down whether I've taken meicine or not, which indicates that in exreme cases it is still working.

Nick1962 2012-05-17 11:05:00 -0500 Report

I know (at least with me as a T2), that like many other body parts, the pancreas seems to want to have a certain rhythm, and if it is worked at a good steady, leisurely pace (through eating consistently), it is able to absorb those times of stress and sickness. However, years of eating huge/poor meals at different times of the day, some days not at all, get it kind of out of whack and tired of all the “at the moment” drama. Heck, I’d give up too. By my treating Mr. Pancreas nice the last few years, and eating well and consistent, Mr. Pancreas seems to have a different attitude, and is responding better. In fact, a high carb meal that would have had me breaking out in a sweat just 3 years ago, doesn’t affect me the same today. So sleeping or just plain angry, I think there’s hope for T2’s if there hasn’t been damage done.

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