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Open Access Validation of Islet Transport From a Geographically Distant Isolation Center Enabling Equitable Access and National Health Service Funding of a Clinical Islet Transplant Program for England

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Islet transplantation has become established as a successful treatment for type 1 diabetes complicated by recurrent severe hypoglycemia. In the UK access has been limited to a few centrally located units. Our goal was to validate a quality-assured system for safe/effective transport of human islets in the UK and to successfully undertake the first transplants with transported islets. Pancreases were retrieved from deceased donors in the north of England and transported to King's College London using two-layer method (TLM) or University of Wisconsin solution alone. Islets were isolated and transported back to Newcastle in standard blood transfusion or gas-permeable bags with detailed evaluation pre- and posttransport. In the preclinical phase, islets were isolated from 10 pancreases with mean yield of 258,000 islet equivalents. No significant differences were seen between TLM and University of Wisconsin solution organ preservation. A significant loss of integrity was demonstrated in islets shipped in gas-permeable bags, whereas sterility, number, purity, and viability were maintained in blood transfusion bags. Maintenance of secretory granules and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion was confirmed following transport. A Standard Operating Procedure enabling final pretransplant quality control from a simple side-arm sample was validated. Moreover, levels of insulin and cytokines in transport medium were low, enabling transplant without centrifugation/resuspension at the recipient site. Six clinical transplants of transported islets were undertaken in five recipients with 100% primary graft function and resolution of severe hypoglycemia. Safe and clinically effective islet transport has been established facilitating sustainable NHS funding of a clinical islet transplant program for the UK.

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Keywords: Glucose-stimulated insulin secretion; Islet isolation; Islet transplant; Islet transport; Type 1 diabetes

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-01-01

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  • The importance of translating original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell therapy and its application to human diseases to society has led to the formation of the journal Cell Medicine. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, the same rigorous peer review will be applied to articles published in Cell Medicine. Articles may deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, and stem cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers may also be featured if they have a translational interest. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Medicine will report on relevant technological advances and their potential for translational medicine. Cell Medicine will be a purely online Open Access journal. There will therefore be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow your work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle you to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of your manuscript.

    Cell Medicine is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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