Gina was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes
when she was nine years and has been dependent on insulin ever since. After years of suffering, she received an islet cell transfer as part of a clinical trial at City of Hope. Since then, she says she’s been insulin-free.
In pancreatic islet transplantation, cells are taken from a donor pancreas and transferred into another person. Once implanted, the new islets begin to make and release insulin. The transplant is easy and takes less than an hour to complete. The surgeon uses ultrasound to guide placement of a small plastic tube (catheter) through the upper abdomen and into the liver. The islets are then injected through the catheter into the
It takes some time for the cells to attach to new blood vessels and begin releasing insulin and Immunosuppressive or anti-rejection drugs are needed to keep the transplanted islets functioning!