with Ella Hubber
The UK has the 5th highest incidences of type 1 diabetes (T1D) in the world, with 24.5 cases per 100,000 individuals.
T1D is an autoimmune disorder in which insulin-producing β-cells are destroyed by the patient’s immune system. β-cells are found in clusters of hormone producing cells in the pancreas called islets of Langerhans.
The replacement of β-cells through the transplantation of isolated islets from donors is a minimally invasive and very promising treatment for T1D. Up to half of patients who receive islet transplantation achieve and remain insulin independent 5 years on.
However, the widespread use of this therapy has been limited by the loss of islet function and survival post transplantation.
Ella’s research focuses on using a type of adult stem cell called mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), to support and improve islet function and survival but many other methods of improving the islet transplantation process are also being researched around the world.
The game below takes a look at the most
successful organ route to transplant islet cells
There are many influences that might make one transplantation route better than another such as the immune system attacking the transplanted islets, the available oxygen supply, insulin reaching the correct tissues, and organ accessibility during surgery.