Question:What is the role of pancreas transplantation in the treatment of diabetes?
Answer: Pancreas transplantation plays an important role in the treatment of patients with diabetes. In patients with diabetes, the pancreas is no longer able to manufacture enough insulin to regulate the blood sugar. In some cases, despite the fact that patients will take insulin, they're not able to control their blood sugar, and they'll have wide swings in their blood glucose, and some patients will even eventually develop kidney failure.
Pancreas transplantation can be used to manage those patients who are simply unable to manage their blood sugar, or particularly in those patients who have kidney failure. In that particular case, they'll receive what's known as a simultaneous pancreas and kidney transplant.
After a pancreas transplant, you'll take medications to prevent rejection. Those medications might have side effects, however those side effects are generally quite manageable, either with dose reduction, or switching to another medication. After a pancreas transplant you could expect to be free of insulin about 90 percent of the time after one year, and after five years, still 80 percent of pancreas transplants will be successful.