Am I a Candidate?
Two groups of patients may be eligible to receive islet transplantation under our existing clinical trials:
Type 1 diabetic patients suffering from frequent or life-threatening low blood sugar episodes (hypoglycemia) with or without unawareness of symptoms.
While many patients with type 1 diabetes achieve good blood sugar control through daily insulin injections or by wearing an insulin pump, some patients with difficult to control (or “brittle”) diabetes still have difficulty maintaining adequate blood sugar control. In addition to the potential health risks associated with uncontrolled blood sugar levels, some patients with type 1 diabetes may not have the ability to feel the symptoms that typically accompany low blood sugar (a condition referred to as “hypoglycemia unawareness”). This means that the patient’s blood sugar may fall to dangerously low levels without the patient’s realization. Patients with hypoglycemic unawareness may be at an increased risk for loss of consciousness, seizures, coma and death. Because islet transplantation can help reduce low blood sugar episodes, patients with frequent low blood sugar episodes and/or hypoglycemia unawareness are primary candidates for the procedure.
Type 1 diabetic patients who have had a successful kidney transplant.
Another group of patients eligible for islet transplantation are type 1 diabetic patients who have a history of diabetic kidney failure successfully treated by kidney transplant.
Because these patients are already on anti-rejection medications for their kidney transplant, the islet transplantation presents fewer risks. It is also possible that improved blood sugar control made possible with islet transplantation will help protect the transplanted kidney from further diabetic damage.