Mayo Clinic on Managing Diabetes

By Maria Collazo-Clavell | Go to book overview

Chapter 9
Transplantation

The last few decades have shown that medication and lifestyle changes can effectively control diabetes, but a common question lingers: What about a cure? Presently, there is no cure for diabetes. Researchers continue to explore treatment therapies that they hope could one day bring about a cure. One area of study that continues to receive a lot of attention is transplantation. Since the late 1970s, doctors have performed pancreas transplants to halt or reverse complications of diabetes, and the procedure has met with some success. But the treatment method gaining the most attention these days is a procedure called islet cell transplantation. Researchers have known for some time that transplanting the cells that produce insulin (islet cells) may provide a possible cure for type 1 diabetes. The process has been ridden with obstacles, but there's some evidence researchers may be getting closer to their goal.


Pancreas transplantation

In 1966 doctors first transplanted a pancreas in a human being with type 1 diabetes. More surgeries followed but the survival rate among people receiving a new pancreas was so low that limited transplants occurred. By 1978 improved medications, new surgical

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