Restoring blood glucose control through islet transplantation is safe and efficient in type 1 diabetes, according to a new study by French researchers.
Pancreatic islets contain insulin-producing beta cells and transplantation is being investigated as a potential treatment for type 1 diabetes.
44 patients who enrolled in the GRAGIL-1c and GRAGIL-2 islet transplantation trials between September 2003 and April 2010 received islet transplantation. 24 participants received islet transplantation alone (ITA), while 20 received islet after kidney (IAK) transplantation.
34 patients completed a five-year follow-up, while there was a four-year follow-up for 10 patients.
Researchers from Grenoble University Hospital observed that at one, four and five years after ITA, 83, 67 and 58 per cent had an HbA1c of below 53 mmol/mol (seven per cent). They were also free from severe hypoglycemia.
Among the IAK patients, 80, 70 and 60 per cent had an HbA1c below 53 mmol/mol and were also free from severe hypoglycemia. Only 10 per cent of IAK patients met this criterion before the study, while none did from the ITA group.
75 per cent of participants experienced insulin independence during the entire follow-up period, while 66 per cent had at least one adverse event. Researchers attributed the adverse events to either immunosuppressio, or islet infusion complications.
The authors concluded: “Islet transplantation was safe and efficient in restoring good and lasting glycemic control, and to prevent severe hypoglycemia in patients with type 1 diabetes.”

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