Author Interviews, Diabetes, Transplantation / 12.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_49716" align="alignleft" width="200"]Dr. Rodolfo Alejandro, MD Professor of Medicine University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Co-Director of the Cell Transplant Center Director/Attending Physician of the Clinical Cell Transplant Program Diabetes Research Institute Dr. Alejandro[/caption] Dr. Rodolfo Alejandro, MD Professor of Medicine University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Co-Director of the Cell Transplant Center Director/Attending Physician of the Clinical Cell Transplant Program Diabetes Research Institute www.DiabetesResearch.org  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: In type 1 diabetes, the insulin-producing islets cells of the pancreas have been mistakenly destroyed by the immune system, requiring patients to manage their blood sugar levels through a daily regimen of insulin therapy. Islet transplantation has allowed some patients to live without the need for insulin injections after receiving a transplant of donor cells. Some patients who have received islet transplants have been insulin independent for more than a decade, as DRI researchers have published. Currently, islet transplantation remains an experimental procedure limited to a select group of adult patients with type 1 diabetes.Although not all subjects remain insulin independent, like the subjects described in this presentation, after an islet transplant a significant number of them continue with excellent graft function for over 10 years that allows them to have near-normal glucose metabolism in the absence of severe hypoglycemia on small doses of insulin. In 2016, the National Institutes of Health-sponsored Clinical Islet Transplantation Consortium reported results from its Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-authorized Phase 3 multi-center trial, of which the DRI was a part, indicating that islet transplantation was effective in preventing severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels), a particularly feared complication in type 1 diabetes that can lead to seizures, loss of consciousness and even death. The study was a significant step toward making islet transplantation an approved treatment for people with type 1 diabetes and reimbursable through health insurance, as it is in several other countries around the world.