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No more insulin - diabetic woman benefits from cell transplant

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09/11/2015 09:34 AM
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No more insulin - diabetic woman benefits from cell transplant
After living with Type 1 diabetes for more than two decades, Wendy Peacock was used to the constant daily juggling act of monitoring her blood sugar, taking insulin and paying attention to everything she ate.

But in recent weeks she was able to stop taking her insulin after doctors transplanted new cells in her as part of a clinical trial at the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) at UHealth — University of Miami Health System.

“To think I can go to sleep at night and not worry that my blood sugar is going to drop it’s almost like a weight has been lifted,” Peacock said during a news conference Wednesday, where doctors shared her success story.

For those who have Type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system destroys cells that make insulin, the hormone needed to regulate blood sugar. About 1.25 million Americans have Type 1 diabetes, including 200,000 youth. Those with the disease must take insulin either through multiple injections a day or continuously with a pump. They must measure their blood-glucose levels by pricking their fingers multiple times a day.

Researchers are examining a new transplant technique for islet cells, which are clusters of thousands of cells in the pancreas that produce insulin to regulate the body’s blood sugar. Physicians implanted islet cells within a biodegradable scaffold on the omentum, an apron-like lining covering the abdominal organs, to determine whether it were a more viable location than the liver, where many of the implanted cells do not survive.

Doctors transplanted the cells during a laparoscopic procedure at Jackson Memorial Hospital on Aug. 18. The FDA-approved study is a step toward the development of the DRI BioHub, a bioengineered mini organ that will mimic the pancreas to restore natural insulin production in people with type 1 diabetes.

Since the transplant, Peacock’s glucose levels have remained at a healthy level, and she was taken off insulin and has no dietary restrictions.

Read more here: [link to www.miamiherald.com]
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