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What is islet transplantation for diabetes?

Some researchers believe that when a virus infects a body, it might somehow change the structure of the antigens on the surface of the islet cells. If this occurs, then the altered antigen might appear to be foreign to the immune system, and a person’s own insulin-producing islet cells might be destroyed.

Islet transplantation is a procedure that involves moving the islets from a donor pancreas into a person whose pancreas has stopped producing insulin. Beta cells in the islets make the insulin that the body needs for using blood glucose.

To treat type 1 diabetes, there is an experimental procedure called islet transplantation available. Islet cells are insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. When these cells are transplanted from a healthy pancreas, it reduces dependency on insulin treatments. In extreme cases, a pancreas transplant may be recommended. Stem cell transplants are also being studied as an additional treatment option.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.