Radio Shows | Diabetes — Islet Cell Transplantation | mp3 … wma … wav
Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in America and in twenty years, up to 35 million people will have it. So thereís great incentive to find better treatments for this disease.
One innovation is being developed at several universities including ours, the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.
This new approach involves transplantation of what are called islet cells.
Theyíre cells in the pancreas that make insulin and insulin regulates the break down of glucose which we need for energy. Put simply, problems either with making insulin or using it is known as diabetes.
Sometimes a patient will develop diabetes because of complications in their pancreas. It can get injured or become inflamed leading to pancreatitis which is extremely painful. For some, the solution is to remove the organ to improve a personís quality of life.
But the result is instant diabetes since the islet cells, which again, make insulin, are now gone. Of course, people can always take insulin to manage their diabetes, but islet cell transplantation is better.
The procedure isolates the islet cells from a patientís removed pancreas and then theyíre transplanted back inside the patientís body.
Whatís remarkable is that this "transplantation" does not require a scalpel. The islet cells are injected and then they set up shop in the liver so that the body is able to make and regulate insulin again!
If somehow the patientís own islet cells cannot be used, a donorís cells are another option. That comes with a risk of rejection so the patient would need immunosuppressive therapy.
The result is the benefit of having naturally produced and regulated insulin which is a better alternative to injected insulin.
So, medical science is now reprogramming your own organs to perform the function of a diseased or removed organ. Now weíre really talking science fiction becoming reality!
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