The Penn Transplant Institute was the first program in the region to offer pancreas transplant as treatment for type 1 diabetes. Pancreas transplantation is the most complete treatment currently available to maintain blood sugar control for patients with type 1 diabetes. While not as common as the transplant of other organs, pancreas transplant offers patients the potential for an insulin-free life.
Islets are a group of cells that produce insulin and are found primarily in the pancreas. These insulin-producing cells are destroyed by type 1 diabetes. Islet cell transplantation is an experimental procedure that transplants islets cells from a donor pancreas into the liver of patients with type 1 diabetes. If the transplant is successful, the new islets begin producing insulin.
Penn Transplant Institute is one of the leading transplant centers in the world researching islet cell transplantation. As a member of the Clinical Islet Transplantation Consortium funded by the National Institutes of Health, Penn offers a number of clinical trials for islet transplantation.
There are several options for pancreas transplant including: simultaneous kidney and pancreas transplant (SPK), pancreas after kidney transplant (PAK) and pancreas alone transplant (PAT).