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Just curious about islet cell transplantation
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Just curious about islet cell transplantation

Does anyone know how to find out if you are a canidate or what to do to be eligible? I am desperate just like every juvenille onset diabetic. I would like to be in the study or anything I am a young and healthy 26 year old with no complications known and I have been sick since I was 11. Any suggestions?
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello.  I don't know a lot about the process for application, but here is some good information about the transplant, along with links for more information.

http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/pancreaticislet/

Good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
From all that I have read about transplants, they are not done on healthy diabetic people at this stage of research because there can be terrible side effects from the anti-rejection drugs. If you discover something different from this, please let us know about it on this forum.
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Avatar_n_tn
From what I have heard once you have the transplant you must remain on anti-rejection drugs for the rest of your life as well.  But that was just discovery channel info.
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Avatar_n_tn
Look at clinicaltrials.gov.  You can do a search for studies, and read if you are a fit.  For the islet transplant, there is a set of criteria that must be met.  You can call a specific study sponsor or nurse to ask questions once you find a site that may be suitable.  I'm by no means an expert on this, but the problem I have with the procedure is that you have to be on anti-rejection drugs your entire lifetime.  These drugs are not without their own problems, in my opinion, in that their mission is to suppress the immune system.  That means you can be susceptible to other things with a suppressed immune system.  That is the major hurdle for me so I weigh insulin use vs. lifetime immunosuppressive drugs.  Also, you must take into account that it may have to be done up to 3 times or 3 transplants, which requires 3 hospital stays, and the transplants are not 100%, which means they have a high failure rate in that your body rejects the transplants.  I think with the new studies, they are doing in-patient IV immunosuppressive drug therapy for a week after the transplant then a new combination of 3 oral immunosuppressive pills to take that were not tested in the last studies.  The reason for the new drug therapy is to help stop the transplant rejection.  I hope this helps.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had an Islet Cell Transplant in YR2005. I had Diabetes for 28 years and was suffering from Hypoglycemic unawareness and Hypoglycemic seizures. I had 2 transplants, I was in and out of the hospital in one day and back to work in 3 days. With my second transplant, I could have gone home the same day, but I did not have a ride home so I stayed overnight. The immune suppressant drugs are not so bad, have had no side effects and rarely get sick. Is it for everyone? Depends and each person is a different case. Best thing to do is go in and see if you qualify. That is what I did and it changed my life.
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Avatar_n_tn
It is good to read a success story here. We do wish you continued success and good health!

I believe that it depends on the patient as far as whether there will be side effects to immune suppressant drugs. I have a good friend who was a recent heart transplant patient. He came through the surgery wonderfully, for he is a young man, but the immune suppressant drugs caused him to suffer neurological damage and his kidneys have failed as a result. Read the side effects carefully, for although fairly rare, we never know if we will be the unlucky patient who reacts to them in a bad way. If this man's family had been aware of the possible side effects, it is possible that the drug levels could have been lowered before permanent damage was done.

I do know that several research facilities are working with the idea of helping diabetic people regrow their OWN islet cells, hence avoiding a lifelong dependency on immune suppressant drugs. I personally believe this will eventually be the safest solution, and I wish them well in their research. All of this is still fairly new research, snd I think you will see huge strides forward in coming years.
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