Islet Cell Transplant

Kim-islet transplant
By Kim-islet transplant Latest Reply 2011-07-14 18:38:36 -0500
Started 2010-06-08 10:07:29 -0500

On Sept 14, 2005 my life changed forever. I had an islet cell transplant and have been insulin free for almost 5 yrs. I was part of a clinical trial at UIC - Chicago Diabetes Project. It has been a miracle. I was to the point where I no longer had symptoms when by glucose levels fell low - so I would just pass out. This transplant saved my life. Has anyone else had an islet cell transplant?

7 replies

cavie2 2011-07-14 18:38:36 -0500 Report

yes another discussion has started today regarding this very subject and no-one had heard anything about it. I informed them that a woman called Kathleen Duncan from Scotland where I live had an Islet cell infusion after having diabetes 1 for over 30 years like you she had another condition called hypoglycemic unawareness where she had no sense of insulin reaction (low BS) candidates for islet cell transplantation are aged between 18-65 type 1 diabetes for more that 5 years and experiencing diabetes related complications. This womans infusion was carried out in Scotland by the Scottish National Pancreatic Islet Transplant Programme. It was on the news over here yesterday.

mo91108 2010-09-30 09:38:00 -0500 Report

I would love a lot more information on it. Is it expensive? And how do they do the transplant?

Crashnot 2010-06-09 12:45:59 -0500 Report

Had a nice chat with the Chicago rep today and got some good details. For me, with the immuno-suppresant drugs, the cure would be worse than the disease at this point. He did say it was really for those who needed a last resort at this point. However they are doing tests on lab animals to develop pancreatic cells enclosed in a shell that will prevent an immune reaction to them. If they can pull that off, we will indeed had a cure, although you might need to repeat the injection later on. At any rate, it's a nice thing to hope for!

Kim-islet transplant
Kim-islet transplant 2010-06-08 13:30:54 -0500 Report

Hi Crashnot;

I was to the point with diabetes that when my BG's fell low frequently and I had no symptoms so I went on a search for a cure. If I had not received the transplant, I would have died from the lows.

The Chicago Diabetes Project is working on development of encapsulated islet cells (in an unlimited supply)- which would eliminate the need for immunosuppressant drugs. They have not yet perfected the encapsulated cells but continue to work on it. The clinical trial phase that I was in does require immuno drugs otherwise my immune system would destroy the islet cells, just like my immune system did when I originally became diabetic 33 yrs ago.. The clinical trial did pay for all the required meds,tests etc for 15 months following the tranplant. If you want more info on the trials, who to contact for more info, or if you want to hear more about my and other islet cell recipient stories you can go to:

The first year following the transplant, I had to go in for blood tests once a month. After 5 yrs., I now go in for blood work every 3 months.

This has been quite a journey. It's great to no longer worry about lows or highs, no longer need a babysitter because I don't have symptoms, no longer have to manage the disease - I can eat what I want when I want it, and most important the improvement in my quality of life.

Crashnot 2010-06-08 13:15:40 -0500 Report

What type of follow up has your transplant required? Are you taking immuno-suppresents (sp), or is it a one-time transplant that will need to be repeated every few years? After 43 years of injections and now the pump, I'm all for an implant, assuming I don't need to take other drugs for it.

Anonymous 2010-06-08 10:12:09 -0500 Report

I'm very interested in checking out the Chicago Diabetes Project website and helping in any way I can to find a cure.