I’m super excited about sharing this information. With multiple family members suffering from diabetes, I know how this disease can ruin lives. The Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine recently announced that their first clinical trial patient is no longer needing insulin injections.
“The first subject in our…trial is now completely off insulin with an excellent glucose profile. These are the best post-transplant results we’ve seen in an islet recipient.” said Camillo Ricordi, MD, director of the DRI.
The patient’s name is Wendy Peacock, 43, from San Antonio, Texas. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 17, this is the first time Wendy has been producing her own insulin naturally in over 20 years.
Wendy’s success is an important first step in bringing a potential cure for type 1 diabetes to patients all across America.
What Are Islet Cells?
Islets, specifically islets of langerhans, are clusters of cells within the human pancreas. These islets work together to regulate blood sugar. The average adult human pancreas has an estimated 1 million islets.
In some cases, a person’s immune system mistakenly destroys these important islet cells. This then leads to the development of type 1 diabetes because the body is unable to properly regulate blood sugar.
Islet transplantation is the process of taking healthy islets from a donor pancreas and transplanting them into patients with diabetes. Studies have found that these islet cells can work effectively in the patient’s body for more than 12 years! Simply amazing.
At DRI, researchers have been working to find the optimal site for transplantation. They also have the goal of eliminating the need for anti-rejection drugs.
In their clinical trial, the DRI is testing the omemtum (inside lining of the abdomen) as a new transplant site for islets. In past studies, researchers had been transplanting islets directly into the liver. But for several reasons, the liver is not an ideal location so researchers at DRI have been looking for more optimum locations.
The method works as follows:
- Researchers take donor islet cells and combine them with a patient’s own liquid plasma.
- They place the plasma/islet combination on the inside lining of the patient’s abdomen (omentum) which is easily accessible with minimally invasive surgery.
- Researchers then add thrombin, an enzyme which helps to create a gel-like substance that sticks to the omentum to hold the islets in place.
- The omentum is folded around the mixture and sealed with more thrombin to keep everything secure.
- The surgery is over. The body slowly absorbs the gel overtime while leaving the islets intact and supplying them with new blood vessels for oxygen.
“We’re quite excited. This has been the best outcome we have seen at this stage. It’s a unique site, the surgery is very simple and the patient recovers very quickly. We will continue to our final goal – islet transplantation without immunosuppression.” said Rodolfo Alejandro, MD.
Partha’s Prescriptions To Help Improve Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes
- Remove/Limit These Foods: Refined sugar, gluten-containing grains, conventional cow’s milk, alcohol, hydrogenated oils.
- Increase Intake Of These Foods: High-fiber foods, chromium (broccoli, raw cheese, green beans, grass-fed beef, brewer’s yeast) magnesium (spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, almonds, yogurt, black beans), healthy fats, clean protein, foods with low glycemic index.
- Consider these potential supplements but always talk to your doctor first: chromium picolinate, cinnamon, cod liver oil, alpha lipolic acid, bitter melon extract.
- Regular exercise: Your body is meant to be in motions. Exercise reduces chronic disease and can help one to manage type 1 diabetes more effectively.
As physicians and healthcare professionals, we are looking for ways to improve the lives of their patients. We are committed to bringing you the latest research and news from centers all around the world.
Dr. Nandi is the Chief Health Editor at WXYZ ABC Detroit, a practicing physician and a renowned international speaker, his appearances include TedX, college commencements, numerous charity functions and premier medical meetings suchas Digestive Disease Week