Islet Cell Transplantation Program

City of Hope's Islet Cell Transplantation Program aims to address islet transplantation challenges and spark advancements by conducting novel research and sharing its unique findings, resources and expertise with the scientific community.

The program's goals include:

  • Establishing and improving the safety of islet cell transplantation as a treatment for type 1 diabetes with a large base of data.

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of islet cell transplantation as a treatment and possible cure for type 1 diabetes.

  • Establishing islet cell transplantation as a superior and more viable treatment option for type 1 diabetes patients.

  • Facilitating islet cell-related research in the public interest.

City of Hope researchers and clinicians are collaborating to overcome hurdles currently facing islet transplantation so that it can someday be approved for treatment of all patients with type 1 diabetes. These scientific objectives include:

  1. Optimizing methodology for organ procurement, islet isolation, islet culture to maximize islet yield, survival and function.

  2. Devising effective strategies for expanding islet cell mass and differentiating insulin-producing cells from adult and/or embryonic stem cells to address shortages in donor islet supply.

  3. Improving islet quality assessment techniques to ensure that islets certified for clinical transplant are of the highest quality.

  4. Exploring alternative sites for islet cell transplantation outside of the liver.

  5. Establishing improved methodology for monitoring islet function in vivo post-transplant (e.g., islet imaging, islet gene profiling, immune monitoring, etc).

  6. Improving immunosuppression to prevent islet graft rejection.

  7. Devising strategies to induce “immune tolerance” so that islet cell transplantation may be given without the risks associated with chronic immunosuppression.


Success Story

Type 1 diabetes patient Gina Marchini is insulin-free for the first time in 24 years. In this episode of The Doctors (Cure for Type 1 Diabetes?), Gina discusses living with diabetes and how her life changed after undergoing a successful islet cell transplant at City of Hope.


Contact the Islet Cell Transplantation Program

If you have questions about islet transplantation or your eligibility for a clinical trial, contact the ICT study coordinator via our toll-free line at 866-44-ISLET (47538), or send an e-mail to [email protected].

We also welcome opportunities with scientists interested in collaborating with our ongoing islet cell research. For more information, please contact us at [email protected].

Scientists conducting islet research can apply to receive islets through the website of the National Institutes of Health-funded Integrated Islet Distribution Program (IIDP).