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Baylor Dallas was the first center in Texas to receive FDA permission to independently process pancreatic islet cells for transplantation – another milestone for Baylor’s long list of firsts and a potential treatment for patients with type 1 diabetes and chronic pancreatitis.
Islet (pronounced "eye-let") of Langerhans cells, or "islets" for short, are specialized cells located in the pancreas. These cells are responsible for making insulin and controlling the body's blood sugar levels.
Type 1 diabetics do not have islet cells that work; therefore, they are completely dependent on insulin. Research at Baylor is underway to determine if allo islet cell transplantation can allow them to be less dependent on insulin or ideally insulin free.
Chronic pancreatitis patients usually have islet cells that work; however, due to their long-term disease, they can be at risk of losing their islet function. In addition, these patients usually live with severe chronic pain and experience frequent hospitalizations. An auto islet cell transplant is an innovative way to prevent diabetes but at the same time treat the pain caused by this devastating disease.
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