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Wednesday, 20 February, 2002, 18:02 GMT
Cell transplant hope for diabetics
Trevor Morris
Trevor Morris wants to be the first to have a transplant
A Leicestershire man wants to become the first person in the country to have a pioneering treatment for diabetes.

Trevor Morris hopes to have pancreas cells transplanted into his liver so his body will produce insulin.

He is now undergoing tests to see if he can become a transplant recipient.

Under the new technique, cells from a donated pancreas are injected into the diabetic liver under local anaesthetic.

Kidney failure

Canadian researchers have used the method successfully, but Leicester General would be the first hospital in the UK to use islet-cell transplantation.

Mr Morris, 60, from Mountsorrel, is one of 10 patients having tests to see if they can have the transplant.

Diagnosed as a chronic diabetic in 1969, he has had more than 18,000 doses of insulin to regulate his blood sugar.

Insulin needle
Mr Morris has had 18,000 injections of insulin

The injections help prevent the onset of blindness and kidney failure.

"I really hope it all goes ahead," Mr Morris said.

"All I have to do now is meet the medical criteria. It can't happen quick enough.

"It will be great to be able to go on a walk on my own without somebody worrying about me at home."

A new islet isolation laboratory has been built at the hospital to enable the procedure to be performed in Leicester.

Islets are the cells within the pancreas that produce insulin.

When transplanted into the liver, the cells develop a blood supply and begin producing insulin.

Dr James Shapiro, a Canadian researcher who has developed the procedure said: "We have treated 30 patients in two and half years and 80% have been able to completely discontinue insulin injections in less than a year."

Click here to go to Leicester
See also:

14 Jan 02 | Health
Simple test for diabetes
14 Dec 01 | Health
Diabetes care blueprint launched
23 Nov 01 | Health
Drug 'halts diabetes progress'
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