Unfortunate news today for the diabetic community as a promising new study involving pancreatic cell transplants offers temporary and mixed results at best.
The study held much hope for the diabetic community when initial trials proved successful in reversing severe diabetes by transplanting cells that make insulin. Further research has found that although patients could break from insulin shots temporarily, within two years 86 per cent of the study group needed insulin again. The reports are published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The transplants do not need a major surgical procedure. The cells are inserted into the body using a vein in the abdomen. Passed through a tube, the cells are dripped into the liver. In order to prevent the body outright rejecting the cells, recipients must take drugs that suppress the immune system.
The transfer technique, known as the Edmonton protocol, provoked the advanced study. The results show that as time wore o, patients did need insulin shots to maintain stable blood sugar levels. Of the original study group, only 5 from 36 were still free of insulin shots. The immune suppressant drugs also caused side effects in many patients.
The validity of the study may be significant in the future, when improved technology makes all stages of the process more efficient.

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