James Shapiro, M.D., the University of Alberta surgeon who pioneered cadaveric islet cell
transplantation in 1999, performed the procedure with a team of Japanese surgeons in Kyoto on Jan.
Working with colleagues at the diabetes unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, she discovered that they could neutralize the attacking white cells "by supplying them with a piece of protein that signaled that the islet cells
were normal cells," Kolata writes.
Treated cells were also more sensitive to glucose and secreted more insulin than the untreated islet cells
He underwent the first islet cell
transplant on March 15, 2002.
MicroIslet's patented islet transplantation technology, exclusively licensed from Duke University, includes methods for isolating, culturing, cryopreservation, and immuno-protection (microencapsulation) of islet cells
. MicroIslet is working to develop and commercialize a first product, called MicroIslet-P(tm), a microencapsulated porcine islet cell
suspension that will be used for transplantation in patients with insulin-dependent diabetes.
Experts say if human islet cells
can be created using similar methods, there is a possibility they could lead to new treatment methods such through a man-made pancreas.
Hans-Michael Dosch, an immunologist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, explained that these autoimmune antibodies are created by immune B cells and appear to dispose of damaged pancreatic islet cells
. The antibodies indicate that bovine insulin might be spurring an immune system T-cell reaction against the child's own islet cells
However, the system also destroys "invited foreigners," such as transplanted islet cells
The protective effect of full multi-lineage donor chimerism on donor islet cells
was further supported by the existence of viable islet beta cells in the grafts of mice in groups A and B that were retrieved at 20 to 30 weeks postislet transplantation (Figures 3(a) and 3(b)).
At the end of treatment, the percentages of [BrdU.sup.+][insulin.sup.+] and [Ki67.sup.+][insulin.sup.+] [beta]-cells in at least 2000 islet cells
of 10 fields (magnification x400) of each islet graft were determined by immunofluorescence in a blinded manner, as our previous report .
Work by Douglas Melton led to the discovery of a method to generate billions of functional, insulin-producing islet cells
in the laboratory.
However, there is a severe shortage of islet cells
from deceased donors.