Insulin and Beta Cell Replacement: From Secretion to Action

Topic: Diabetes Management date: 08/11/2015 Featured Expert: Michael R. Rickels, MD, MS

Dr. Rickels discusses his research on islet transplantation in T1DM patients, which ultimately enables the restoration of normal glucose homeostasis.

10th Annual CMHC Keynote speaker Dr. Michael Rickels, who has also been Medical Director for the Pancreatic Islet Cell Transplant Program at the University of Pennsylvania since 2008, will present information from his team’s ongoing research in type 1 diabetes. Among patients with T1DM who experience recurrent severe hypoglycemia, Dr. Rickels and his team have been evaluating the transplantation of intact islets that have been isolated from the pancreas of deceased donors and then infused into the portal vein of a T1DM recipient. The islets are distributed throughout the liver, where they ultimately reside and begin producing and secreting insulin, enabling the restoration of normal glucose homeostasis for the patient.

Dr. Rickels will share the available data on the secretion of insulin from islets that are now situated in the liver as opposed to their native location in the pancreas, and how that secretion may be maintained over time with current approaches to islet transplantation and immunosuppression. Because of the requirement for immunosuppressive medications with this approach, resulting impaired insulin action has been of concern in the medical community; however, Dr. Rickels will explain how their research has in fact shown patients who have undergone islet transplantation experience an improvement in tissue sensitivity to insulin, and not insulin resistance as has been feared.