Treating Diabetes with Transplanted Cells

Each year 13 thousand people are diagnosed with diabetes, and Until about 75 years ago, the form of diabetes that usually strikes children and young adults was invariably lethal. As you can see diabetes is a serious problem.
In the past scientist have tried extracting insulin from animals and most people assumed daily injections of insulin was the cure. They were wrong this helped for a little while but eventually led to blindness, kidney failure or both. In 1967 scientist had developed a way to collect the needed islets from a rat's pancreas. To the scientist delight the transplants in the rats made their blood sugar level return to normal and it stayed that way. Unfortunately this method did not work for humans. Again in the mid 1980ís scientist got their hopes up and again were let down. They took islets and made a small incision near the navel and fed the islets through a tube into a vein that leads to the portal vein. Once the islets were lodged in the smaller vessels they had direct contact with blood. The results were had the scientist encouraged. Their patients were given 400 thousand islets, but they did not produce enough insulin to enable the patients to stop taking injections. In 1990, 145 patients had received islet transplants. In most patients the islets had not been able to control blood sugar levels or had lost some of their activity in the three years. The islets had been performing at maximum capacity and had become exhausted. They decided that is enough islets are supplied they should reverse diabetes permanently. Although technical obstacles remained most of them had to do with the demand of huge numbers of islets. They are testing a membrane that is made of similar material but is flatter and so enables them to pack islets closer together. With this new membrane(about the size of one and a half dollar bills) they could hold 800 thousand islets and be implanted in the abdominal cavity. Before any device can be used physicians will require access to a huge supply of islets. They are now working on cell that could be obtained from beta cell tumors.
As for results right now scientist do not have a lot to show for all their hard work but failure. Although, they have found out a couple of interesting facts such as the transplantation of encapsulated cells may be helpful for other diseases. Scientists are learning from their mistakes and are putting their ideas together. I feel soon that they may have a permanent fix to this awful disease