Source: Ohio State University Medical Center
INSIDE THIS LABORATORY AT THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER... A COMPLICATED RESEARCH PROJECT IS UNDERWAY. DOCTOR AMER RAJAB IS A TRANSPLANT SURGEON, WHO SPECIALIZES IN THE STUDY OF THE PANCREAS. AND RIGHT NOW, HIS FOCUS IS ON ONE PARTICULAR PORTION OF THE PANCREAS...KNOWN AS THE ISLET (EYE-let) CELLS.
only 2-3 percent from the whole pancreas is called islet cells. those islet cells make the hormones and insulin that control our sugar.
so when you have diabetes, pancreas that makes enzymes (for digestion) only 2-3 percent stop working.
IN EXTREME CASES, WHEN A PATIENT SUFFERS LIFE-THREATENING HYPOGLYCEMIC EPISODES, AND IS UNABLE TO REGULATE THEIR BLOOD SUGARS, A PANCREAS TRANSPLANT COULD BE AN OPTION.
currently the most successful treatment is the whole pancreas transplantation. Ohio State is one of the top few centers in the world doing this procedure but it is a complicated operation. few qualify for the procedure"
SO NOW THE QUESTION IS... CAN WE JUMP-START THE PORTION OF THE PANCREAS THAT HAS STOPPED PRODUCING INSULIN? DR. RAJAB BELIEVES THE ANSWER LIES IN THE EXTRACTION AND TRANSPLANTATION OF ISLET CELLS... INSTEAD OF THE ENTIRE PANCREAS. HE AND HIS TEAM CAN EXTRACT THE ISLETS FROM THE PANCREAS OF A DECEASED ORGAN DONOR. THE ISLETS ARE THEN PURIFIED AND PROCESSED. THE THEORY IS THAT ONCE IMPLANTED DIRECTLY INTO THE recipient's Liver, THE CELLS CAN BEGIN TO MAKE AND RELEASE INSULIN.
we don't have to do anything...just infuse the islet cells laporoscopically
RECOVERY TIME WOULD BE DRAMATICALLY EASIER THAN THE MAJOR SURGERY OF A PANCREAS TRANSPLANT. HOWEVER, RIGHT NOW THIS PROCEDURE IS STILL CONSIDERED RESEARCH... OSU DOES HAVE A FEW PATIENTS ON THE WAITING LIST FOR THE ISLET TRANSPLANT, WHILE THE DOCTORS WAIT FOR appropriate DONORS
there's two major issues...as we mentioned, the supply of islet. we are depending of the generosity of a human being, we are still using a deceased donor organ.
THE OTHER MAJOR ISSUE... THE TIME AND EFFORT TO CONDUCT THIS RESEARCH IS EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE.
it's clinical research so not covered by insurance. Ohio state because they are so serious and so committed to science and for their patients, they are the one who put the grant, the money, to cover the whole procedure, which is so expensive.
all ohio state leadership put the money grant for me to proceed. they are getting nothing back except patient care and excellent science. which is very significant.
NO ONE KNOWS HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE TO MOVE THIS PROCEDURE FROM THE RESEARCH PHASE TO A ROUTINE TREATMENT. More than one MILLION PATIENTS WITH TYPE-1 DIABETES ARE HOPING DR. RAJAB AND HIS TEAM CAN HELP MAKE THAT A REALITY.