Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Diabetes Islet Transplants Closer to Reality

Single-Donor Islet Transplant for Type 1 Diabetes Passes Major Hurdle

WebMD Health News

Feb. 15, 2005 -- Scientists have long sought a way to treat diabetes using transplants. Early success of a single-donor islet transplantislet transplant in treating type 1 diabetes may bring the promise of the experimental diabetes treatment one step closer to reality.

A new study showed that eight people with type 1 diabetes who received an islet transplant from a single cadaver donor no longer needed insulin injections one year later, and five of the transplant recipients no longer needed them for more than one year.

People with type 1 diabetes cannot make insulin to control blood sugar levels and must take insulin injections to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

Islets are insulin-producing cells found in the pancreas. Although islet transplants have shown much promise in allowing people to gain independence from insulin therapy, current methods require transplanting a higher number of islets from two to four donor pancreases.

Researchers say in order for islet transplants to become a reality in treating type 1 diabetes, additional advances are needed, such as requiring only one donor pancreas to reduce risks and costs and to increase the availability of islet cells.

Islet Transplants Inch Closer to Reality

In the study, researchers examined the safety and effectiveness of single-donor islet transplant. The results appear in the Feb. 16 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

In order to increase the chances of success, researchers took steps to reduce damage to islet cells while the donor pancreas was in storage. They also required that recipients use immunotherapy drugs before transplantation to help prevent their immune systems from rejecting the cells.

The islet transplants were conducted from July 2001 to August 2003 in eight women with type 1 diabetes.

The results showed that the transplanted islets were able to detect blood sugar levels and secrete insulin in all eight single-donor islet transplant recipients, freeing them from insulin injections.

Five of the recipients remained insulin independent for longer than one year.

No serious or unexpected side effects were associated with the islet transplants.

Researchers say this early success with a single-donor islet transplant procedure is a major advance but further study in a larger group of people with type 1 diabetes over a longer period of time is needed.

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
Home Healthcare

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner