A step towards insulin independence for people with type 1 diabetes*
14th June 2013
Australian Diabetes Council (ADC) has congratulated Australian researchers and doctors who have published the results of a clinical trial which lead to insulin independence of participants who had high risk-type 1 diabetes.
The trial, which involved ‘islet cell transplantation’ with a number of people who suffered ‘Hypoglycaemia unawareness’, brings hope to the approximately 150,000 people with type 1 diabetes that will one day no longer need to treat their disease with insulin.
“This announcement is wonderful news – every step forward towards improved treatments and understanding of diabetes should be celebrated, and on behalf of Australian Diabetes Council and our 180,000 members I congratulate everyone involved in this major Australian trial,” Australian Diabetes Council Deputy CEO Kristen Hazelwood said.
Ms Hazelwood said that while her advice was that the ‘islet cell transplantation’ procedure was only a trial and that a public waiting list would not be opened in the immediate future, yesterday’s announcement gave definite hope to people with type 1 diabetes.
“As an organisation dedicated to improving the lives of Australians living with diabetes, striving towards a future where diabetes can not only be prevented but one day cured, successful trials such as these are very exciting for all people with type 1 diabetes,” Ms Hazelwood said.
‘Hypoglycaemia unawareness’ can lead to serious unanticipated hypoglycaemic events as people with this severe condition do not experience the usual symptoms of low blood glucose. It affects around 10% of people with Type 1 diabetes.
In the trial procedure, insulin-producing islet cells were taken from organ donors and transplanted into a recipient’s liver. The procedure was first undertaken at Westmead Hospital in Sydney in 2003. Those who have undergone the procedure require immunosuppressant medications following the cell transplant and many of the small group reached insulin independence. Research is still ongoing on long term effects and broader use as a treatment for type 1 diabetes.
The trial was conducted by a major national consortium including Sydney’s Westmead Hospital and Westmead Millennium Institute, the University of Sydney, Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Hospital Institute of Medical Research and Adelaide with funding from the Commonwealth government.
The summary of the trial is available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23668890
Anyone with questions specifically about this new procedure should contact 9845 8257 or 0408 893 804.
People who are concerned about diabetes or would like further information or to make a donation to the ongoing support of Australians with diabetes can visit www.australiandiabetescouncil.com or call 1300 342 238 to speak with an expert.
*Source – www.australiandiabetescouncil.com