Diabetes patient receives pancreatic cell transplant

Wed, 06 Jul 2011
A Scottish woman has received a life-changing pancreatic cell transplant to treat her type 1 diabetes, it has been announced. Kathleen Duncan underwent an operation involving the complex preparation of islets extracted from a deceased donor's pancreas, which are then injected into diabetes patients, allowing her to produce her own blood sugar .

Ms Duncan received donated pancreatic islet cells at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh's transplant unit, which means she no longer needs to inject herself with insulin up to four times every day, and is one of the first to be treated by the leading transplant programme.

Ms Duncan, who has been a diabetic for over 30 years, commented "Before this treatment I felt absolutely helpless, as I had no awareness of my blood sugar levels or if I was about to collapse."

She added "I have more control over my diabetes, the confidence to do everyday things and can lead a practically normal life."

There are currently believed to be about 28,000 people with type 1 diabetes in Scotland, and about 2,000 that experience a lack of awareness about their hypoglycemia .

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon, who met Ms Duncan during a visit to the cell therapy suite, also said "This service has shown how it has the potential to transform the lives of people with this condition. The ideal is to make them no longer dependent on insulin injections."
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