Researchers at Baylor All Saints Medical Center are studying a solution they believe will improve the quantity and quality of isolated human pancreatic islet cells. The harvested cells can then be transplanted into the livers of patients with Type 1 diabetes, enabling them to produce their own insulin.
Recently, the hospital received word that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded Shinichi Matsumoto, M.D., Ph.D., a 2-year grant to continue studying his ductal preservation method. The NIH, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, funds the highest caliber research and is the nation's leading medical research supporter.
Dr. Matsumoto is director of the islet cell laboratory at Baylor Research Institute (BRI), an affiliate of Baylor Health Care System. Baylor All Saints is the primary location for the research.
Preliminary data Dr. Matsumoto included in the grant application indicates that his method increases islet yield more than three times that previously achieved.
"Since we have an established clinical islet transplantation program at Baylor, the results from these experiments will be immediately applied in the clinical field," Dr. Matsumoto said. "We believe this research will overcome major challenges facing islet cell transplantation; thereby achieving a milestone in advancing islet transplantation from experimental treatment to standard therapy. This research may be an important next step toward a treatment for diabetes."
Islet cell transplantation has been shown to be a promising treatment and possible cure for Type 1, or juvenile onset diabetes, but major challenges remain. These challenges include a low success rate of islet isolation, the necessity for multiple donor organs, and the difficulty of maintaining insulin-free status.
"If this approach is successful, we will obtain high quantity and quality of human islets, therefore resolving these major issues," Dr. Matsumoto said.
Illustration: Microsoft clipart.
Baylor University Health Care System News Release (01/05/11)
Medical News Today (01/07/11)