Islet transplantation shows the promise of being capable of relieving glucose instability and improving QOL of patients with type 1 diabetes that cannot be controlled due to severe hypoglycemia unawareness. In Japan, following the first human islet isolation from a donor after cardiac death in 2003 and the first clinical islet transplantation in 2004, islet transplantation was performed for the improvement of type 1 diabetes as a single-center trial in several centers. Although it was discontinued due to the possibility of contamination of collagenase by bovine brain component in 2007, the phase II clinical trial of islet transplantation started using ATG induction and a TNF-α inhibition protocol in 2012. The primary endpoints of this trial were the proportion of patients with HbA1c < 7.4% and freedom from severe hypoglycemic events at one year after the first islet cell infusion. In an interim analysis, this endpoint was achieved in 75% of cases. In April 2020, clinical islet transplantation was finally covered by health insurance in Japan, thanks to these outcomes. We herein introduce more than 20 years of history of clinical islet transplantation in Japan.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes