Background. The University of California Islet Transplant Consortium was formed to evaluate the feasibility of performing clinical islet transplantation at different transplant centers by using a single centralized islet isolation laboratory. Methods. From July 1992 through February 1995 seven adult islet transplantations were performed, six allografts and one autograft. Once procured, human pancreata were brought to the UCLA-VA Islet Core Laboratory for islet isolation and purification, which were then transported to different centers for transplantation. Patients 1 through 3 received their transplants in Los Angeles, patient 4 received her islet transplant in Torrance, and patients 5 through 7 received their transplants in San Francisco. Results. Although none of these patients achieved insulin independence, four of seven had functioning grafts longer than 6 months as indicated by circulating C-peptide level greater than 0.7 ng/ml. Furthermore, improved glucose control as shown by a decreased insulin requirement was seen in 57% (four of seven patients) of these patients. The ability to isolate islets at a single laboratory and transport them long distances to different centers was shown in patients 4 through 7. Conclusions. Islet transplantation can be performed with improvements in blood glucose control, and islets can be isolated at a centralized location and successfully transported to different centers for transplantation.
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