Imagine if pancreas islet cells transplanted into your liver meant that you would be cured of diabetes! Well, apparently, this is what happened to Tre Porfirio, a US airman posted to Afghanistan. He's only 21 years old, and after being hit by bullets, in the area of his pancreas, he basically became a diabetic! Not a nice way to go, being riddled with bullets, but the main thing he is still alive.
Well, the story gets even better though. His medical team managed to salvage some of the islet cells that product insulin from what remained of his pancreas, transplanted them into his liver, and now his liver is producing insulin. Where can I sign up?
According to the article I read, this is the first time this procedure has been used in a person who has had their pancreas damaged this way, rather then the usual wear 'n tear associated with long term diabetes.
The article goes onto say that hopefully in 10 years time that this type of procedure may be used within 10 years. Wonder if it'll work on long term diabetics like myself, or would we have to use donor islet cells?
My other question is, does the liver still function like it did before or can it share with the pancreas islet cells? I'm no medical whiz kid, but I thought the liver was very important and that there is no way to make up for the absence of what it does, such as helping in digestion, building cells into protein (protein syntheisis).
To read more of the story go to this link at The Miami Herald.