Hypothesis: A local multiorgan donor pancreas procurement program can provide a source for optimized isolation of purified viable islets for transplantation into patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus receiving best medical therapy. Design: Prospective before-after cohort study. Setting: Tertiary referral center. Patients: Glycemic control was assessed in 10 patients with diabetes-induced renal dysfunction who were enrolled in a best medical therapy program and then crossed over to islet transplantation. Interventions: Thirty human pancreata were retrieved from local multiorgan donors and consecutively processed with intraductal collagenase perfusion, continuous digestion, and density gradient purification (group 1, n=9) or similarly processed but impure tissue fractions cultured in vitro and then repurified to retrieve additional islets (group 2, n=21). Islets were implanted by percutaneous portal embolization, providing more than 10 000 islet equivalents (IE) per kilogram of body weight (infusions from 1-3 donors per patient) under cover of antithymocyte globulin, sirolimus, or mycophenolate mofetil and tacrolimus. Main Outcome Measures: Islet yields, purity, and cell viability (caspase 3, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated biotin-deoxyuridine 5-triphosphate nick-end labeling stain, and insulin secretion in vitro) were compared. In patients, monitored metabolic parameters were C-peptide secretion, insulin requirements, glycemic excursion, and hemoglobin A 1c (HbA 1c). Results: For group 1 vs group 2, no differences were observed in pancreas age (43 vs 44 years), cold storage (5 vs 4 hours), or weight (73 vs 82 g). Group 2 yielded 453 690 IE vs 214 109 IE in group 1 (P=.002). Grafts contained 50% or more endocrine cells in both groups. No difference occurred in cell viability or insulin secretion. Islets from 90% of group 2 pancreata met release criteria for transplantation. C-peptide secretion was detected in all recipients and persisted with a median follow-up to 12 months (range, 6-21 months) after full islet transplantation. Daily insulin dependence was reversed in all patients for at least 3 months. Five patients resumed small insulin doses. Compared with the best care program, all patients had improved metabolic stability. The mean±SE HbA 1c level at entry into the study was 7.8%±0.5%, and this decreased to 6.9%±0.2% after best care (P=.38) and further to 6.2%±0.2% at 6 months after transplantation (P=.002 vs entry; P=.15 vs best care; analysis of variance). Conclusions: Local pancreas donor retrieval with islet isolation and culture conditioning enabled an offer of islets for transplantation for 90% of consecutively processed pancreata. Isolated islets secreted insulin during prolonged follow-up after implantation into patients, yielding metabolic control comparable with that achieved by best medical therapy.
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