A Functional Cure
The Chicago Diabetes Project and the University of Illinois at Chicago have established in record time a first-class human islet isolation and transplantation program.
In our first clinical trial, 10 of 10 patients achieved insulin-independence: AJT UIC Trial [PDF]
We are close to the cure.
Islet cell transplantation offers promise of a cell-based, functional cure for diabetes. Transplanted islet cells quickly begin to act as insulin factories, allowing recipients to live insulin free. By placing the islet cells in protective capsules, there is hope that transplant recipients will not need immunosuppressive drugs to prevent rejection. Future research to prove these concepts will pave the way for widespread clinical application of a cell-based cure for diabetes.
Our research is now focused on overcoming the remaining obstacles to islet transplantation:
Finding an unlimited source of insulin producing cells, and protecting the islet cells with microencapsulation to avoid the long-term risks of immunosuppressant drugs.