Researchers at University of Illinois at Chicago ( UIC ) have modified the procedure for islet cell transplantation and achieved insulin independence in diabetes patients with fewer but better-functioning pancreatic islet cells.
The study results are published in the American Journal of Transplantation.
In the UIC study, 10 patients with diabetes received between one and three islet cell transplants and were followed for 15 months.
Four received the Edmonton protocol, developed at the University of Alberta, which uses a combination of two immunosuppressants and a monoclonal antibody drug, Daclizumab ( Zenapax ).
Six patients received the UIC protocol, a combination of Etanercept ( Enbrel ) and Exenatide ( Byetta ), and the Edmonton regimen.
The new procedure allowed patients to get off insulin after a single transplant versus the two to four transplants that were needed using the older protocol.
All patients in the study achieved insulin independence, but those who received the UIC protocol required fewer than half the number of islets as those who were treated under the Edmonton protocol.
The four patients who received the Edmonton protocol needed either two or three sequential islet cell transplants to achieve insulin-independence.
The six patients who were treated using the UIC protocol initially achieved insulin-independence after only one islet transplant. Two of these patients required a second islet cell transplant, and one resumed insulin five months after the second transplant due to other complications. ( Xagena )
Source: University of Illinois at Chicago, 2008