type 1 islet cells infusion

A team of physicians at McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), Quebec, Canada have infused insulin-producing cells into a woman with type 1 diabetes.

This is the first islet cell transplant in Quebec, which involves infusing several hundred thousand islet cells, which make insulin, into patients with type 1.

As type 1 diabetes is characterised by the immune system destroying insulin-producing beta cells, the aim of this treatment is to alleviate the need for patients to inject insulin.

The patient, 50-year-old Zohra Nabbus, previously underwent a pancreas transplant, but this was rejected by her immune system. The development of MUHC’s Islet Transplant Laboratory will serve to reduce invasive surgeries and hospital stays for future patients.

Craig Hasilo, Manager of the Human Islet Transplant Laboratory, said: “Our team advanced the established protocol by using a Giner Portable Pancreas Persufflation™ System – a new piece of technology that keeps the pancreas oxygenated after it is recovered from the donor and before the islets are isolated.

“We believe this resulted in better quality cells being transplanted, thereby reducing the need for multiple infusions.”

The MUHC is the only centre in eastern Canada that can conduct islet cell transplantation, and is one of a dozen in North America. Their research team hopes this procedure could mark the development of a regional network for the diabetes treatment.