Current challenges in islet transplantation
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- Leitão, C.B., Cure, P., Tharavanij, T. et al. Curr Diab Rep (2008) 8: 324. doi:10.1007/s11892-008-0057-3
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Allogeneic islet transplantation is becoming a treatment option for patients with unstable type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). Around 80% of the islet recipients achieve insulin independence after one or two islet infusions under “Edmonton-like” immunosuppressive protocol, but only 10% will remain insulin independent over the long term. Islet transplantation leads to glucose stabilization, and severe hypoglycemia is prevented even in patients back on insulin injections. Thus, islet transplantation has achieved the proposed targets in patients with unstable T1DM: normalizing blood glucose and hemoglobin A1c, preventing severe hypoglycemic episodes, and improving quality of life. The current aims of islet transplantation programs are to maintain the success achieved and to overcome remaining obstacles and limitations.