Ten years ago, the University performed a successful islet cell transplant on Lorna Zaworski to treat type 1 diabetes as part of a clinical trial. Today, Zaworski remains insulin independent—demonstrating that islet cell transplants can offer a cure.
Islet cells, which are located in the pancreas, are the body’s only cells that produce insulin. The body mistakenly destroys them during the onset of diabetes.
As leaders in a national clinical trial, University doctors have performed numerous islet transplantations since 2000. Today, nearly 90 percent of recipients become insulin independent post-transplant and more than 50 percent are still insulin independent 5 years later.
So, if islet transplantation is so successful, why isn’t everyone with diabetes undergoing the procedure?
Click here to listen to a podcast featuring Bernhard Hering, M.D., director of the University’s Schulze Diabetes Institute, who answers this question, explores recent advances in islet transplantation, and offers a glimpse of where the therapy might be in the future.