Sue Marshall blogs about diabetes for Desang

Discovery Leads to Improved Islet Cell Transplants: Researchers | March 23, 2010

A new treatment to improve the success rate of insulin producing cell transplants is being researched.

Researchers say they have created a process that makes islet cell transplantation for Type 1 diabetics much more effective, according to a recent press release from The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Most people with diabetes rely on several daily insulin injections to regulate the amount of glucose in the blood.  However, a small number of diabetics have received a transplant of islet cells, the ones responsible for producing insulin. Insulin is the hormone that regulates the amount of sugar in the blood. The problem is that the body often rejects the transplanted cells, prompting the patient to take immunosuppressant drugs.

However, researchers claim they have developed a new treatment that can significantly improve the success of transplants. They identified the previously unknown function of a nuclear protein known as HMGB1 (high-mobility group box 1). The protein is produced by islet cells and actually triggers their rejection. They have used this info to establish a treatment they say is four times more effective than previous islet transplant protocols.

Researchers say this discovery may lead to even better transplant techniques in the future.

Via: Discovery Leads to Improved Islet Cell Transplants: Researchers

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