A trial of insulin-producing arm implants have been reported as promising.
According to a report in Hospital + Heatlhcare, a trial at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH), in which insulin-producing islet cells are implanted into an artificial dermis (skin) in a patient’s arm, is said to be showing promising results.
Islet cells produce the hormones that regulate blood sugar, such as insulin, but the transplantation of islet cells into sites where they would be more likely to survive has so far proved difficult. However, the trial placed an artificial skin on the upper arm, creating a highly vascularised (high blood flow) environment similar to that of a human pancreas. After around 20 days, the site was then injected with donor insulin-producing islets cells, creating an insulin-producing artificial pancreas for the patient.
The innovative treatment can be done under local anaesthetic, is easy to monitor or remove, and is significantly less expensive than previous methods. It also provides the transplanted cells with their own blood supply, which reduces the risk to the patient.
If the trial proves to be successful, the next step is to gather further data from more participants. Clinicians and patients alike are optimistic that this world-class research can be a pathway towards a cure for Type 1 diabetes.
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