A joint study by the University of Minnesota and the University of California San Francisco, with one islet cell infusion from a single donor pancreas, has achieved insulin independence in four of six people with longterm type 1 diabetes.
Four recipients have been insulin independent for more than one year; three for over two years, and two for more than three years.
A new type of anti-rejection treatment was developed and administered in the trial. A new generation of anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody was administered in this study during the first two weeks after transplant. This antibody targets the type of white blood cells that cause type 1 diabetes and mediate rejection of transplants.
Study participants received two other immune-suppression drugs. Current studies are testing whether the longterm maintenance immune-suppression medication can be minimized or even discontinued in islet cell recipients given the anti-CD3 antibody.
The study’s success can be attributed to better islet cell preparation and optimized anti-rejection drugs, according to the researchers.
-Diabetes Care, March 2004