Two recent research papers from the Emory Transplant Center describe research on pancreatic islet transplantation, an experimental procedure that could help people with type I diabetes live without daily insulin injections.
As with other types of transplantation, the challenge with islet transplantation is to avoid rejection of the donated organ and to balance that goal against side effects from the drugs needed to control the immune system. These papers illustrate how that balancing act is especially complex.
In the last decade, transplant specialists developed a method for islet transplantation named the â€œEdmonton protocolâ€ after pioneers at the University of Alberta. While the emergence of this method was a major step forward, there are limitations: