Center for Islet Transplantation
There is a great need to assess how well transplanted
islets perform their critical functions of producing
insulin and maintaining normal blood sugar levels.
For meaningful progress, clinicians everywhere
must monitor and define islet function and other
biological/medical results in the same way. To
create these assessment protocols, uniform biomarkers
and surrogate endpoints need to be established
The new JDRF Center for Islet Transplantation
at University of Pennsylvania is focused on islets
- their isolation, preparation, functional evaluation,
and imaging in the context of ongoing clinical
trials. As an important first step, this center
will employ Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
to image islets, enabling researchers to monitor
islet function and examine other immune and metabolic
markers after transplantation.
On the road to initiating clinical trials, the
important work already accomplished by the Center's
director and principal investigator, Ali
Naji, MD, on inducing tolerance through islet
implantation in the thymus gland - a central
site of immune system programming - will continue.
work was done in small animal models and will
now move on to the next stage: non-human primates.
The project will also employ immunomodulated
islets - islets that have been altered before
transplantation - thus employing another key
strategy in attempting to achieve immune tolerance.
For more information or if you are interested
in participating in the trial please call 215-662-4449.