i am just wondering if anybody here is looking into the islet cell transplant. i research it all the time but would love some feedback. has anybody had it? or personally know somebody that has had it? and are the anti-rejection drugs really as bad as my endo warns??

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I would like to learn more about it also.

i am finding more and more people who have gotten the procedure. even if it does not last forever, as most of them say they have returned to small amounts of insulin after 7 years or so....to me that is an amazing, life-changing 7 years. seems pretty worth it to me!

I had understood that one has to be in pretty bad shape to qualify for one of those and I am more interested in keeping myself in good shape than in getting surgery. There's one member who's had it who pops up occasionally but I haven't seen her for a while. She seems to be doing very well with it. I think there's some pitfalls to the anti-rejection drugs too but I don't remember what they are.

To be honest andrea,The best way forward will be Gene therpay and use of the MODY HFN strain of mutant is the way forward.But like all things it will be years away.I have a friend who is also a biologist who works in IC research and had a transplant that is connected to her reaserch.Alos no the others who have had it done but IC do not live long because of body and organ rejection.

An islet cell transplant requires the use of anti-rejection drugs for as long as your transplant survives (which traditionally has not been all that long). And anti-reflection drugs have a really, really bad effect. They are immunosuppressive, leaving you immune compromised. And the other side effects can also be quite serious. A good discussion of the anti-rejection drugs used in kidney/pancreas transplants can be found here. The side effects seem pretty harsh.

I have worked with many people on immunosuppressive drugs (for various reasons), and I personally would never willingly choose to go that route. With these drugs you literally have no immune system, and whatever side effects the specific drugs may cause aside, the people taking them (at least those I've worked with) caught every little cold going around and were sick a lot of the time, despite precautions like avoiding sick people and using hand sanitizer frequently. I suppose if diabetes were affecting your life so much that you couldn't function on a daily basis it might be worth it (or if you were undergoing something like a kidney transplant, anyway), but otherwise trading diabetes for having a cold/flu half the time would not be my idea of a good trade-off.

I did an internet search, but could only find trials of this. It looks like one of the explorations being made is to use stem cells directly from the patient to grow the necessary islets and then transplant them into the liver. This process will mean no rejection. Not sure how far off it is though.

I said trials, but perhaps a better wording would be that what I found classified this as "experimental."

Even beta cells grown from the patient will be rejected. The immune system of T1 diabetics will always attack beta cells. That it the root of the problem.

So, fix the immune system first. C'mon Dr. Faustman!


My understanding is that a pancreas or islet cell transplant contains considerable risk. This surgery is not usually considered unless another transplant, like kidney, is needed as well. Like many have noted, if you recieved a pancreas transplant you would be trading one problem for another that may be worse.

This 2008 publication shows that the life expectancy of individuals recieving kidney or kidney & pancreas transplant is lower than the indiviual that did not recieve the transplant. http://www.ustransplant.org/pdf/Wolfe_LYFT_ROTSOT_07.pdf. I did not spend the time to read the whole paper, but you can reasonably assume that the patients have comorbidities. My point is that transplants are a serious threat to your health.

It's been a few weeks since I searched, but apparently they've made tremendous leaps in the safety of the transplant procedures. I remember reading that originally the surgeries also took many hours and now it is done in a fraction of the time. I will see if I can find the article I read.




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