From Farmington, Connecticut, USA:
Is it possible to harvest a few islet cells from a 12 year old who has type 1, now in honeymoon phase, for the purpose of freezing for future possibilities like cloning. Has anyone attempted this?
Are any drugs being developed to help slow the autoimmune system from attacking islet cells, like the drugs used to prevent HIV from becoming AIDS?
In theory, it is possible to harvest beta cells or islet cells, but this is a major operation since the pancreas is deep in the abdominal cavity. We also know that the body would then re-attack these same cells in the future, usually with a memory response that makes the next "attack" harder and faster.
As far as trying to counteract the autoimmune attack, that's the basis of almost 25 years of extensive research efforts and, so far, we know how to do this well in animals like mice and rats, but it's just to dangerous to turn off the immune system for people right now. We do not yet know how to do this just for the autoimmune attack specifically on the pancreatic tissue without targeting the entire immune system.
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:56
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