Islet Transplantation

islet cellVision Into Reality

It has been nearly ten years since the groundbreaking study known as the Edmonton Protocol rocked the diabetes world.  During this time, we at UCSF have been focused on improving our own pancreatic islet transplantation techniques to more effectively restore insulin independence in patients with diabetes.

We are pleased to report that our team of clinical researchers and islet transplant surgeons has performed this minimally invasive procedure on numerous patients with great success.  As our ability to harvest islets from cadaver organs has improved and our drug protocols have become more effective, our success rate in “curing” patients with diabetes is on the rise.  

Even though we have proved that islet transplantation works, numerous challenges still exist.  

Unfortunately, there are far too few donor organs available to provide the islet cells necessary to cure the millions of patients with diabetes in this country.  Fortunately, we have numerous researchers at UCSF who are tackling the islet shortage problem – and we should have good news soon.

Additionally, current drug therapies designed to prevent transplant rejection must be taken for life and are wrought with potential side effects.  Fortunately, we are among the most respected centers in the world in the area of “immune tolerance” and our team continues to make progress in creating safer alternatives to current immunosuppressive drug therapies.

UCSF is a member of the CIT Consortium, an international collaborative effort that is conducting several clinical trials examining the outcomes of islet transplantation in type 1 diabetes and evaluating the efficacy of novel immunosuppressive agents in preventing islet rejection.  If you are interested in learning more, please download a CIT Consortium Brochure.

In addition, our single-center trial for islet transplantation is sponsored by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and is looking at the outcomes of transplanted patients treated with new immunosuppressive drugs.

Islet Room

To learn more about our islet transplantation clinical trials, contact 

FOR MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS:  Please download a copy of our "Dear Colleague" letter that describes our islet transplantation trials in greater detail.