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Islet Cell Transplant Ditches Need for Immunosuppression

By Anette Breindl
Science Editor

Thursday, October 31, 2013
Scientists have developed a method to shield transplanted cells from the transplant recipient’s immune system, enabling them to transplant a diabetic patient with insulin-producing islet cells that remained invisible to his immune system. For now, the system is too complex for widespread use. “There [are] technical problems that need to be addressed to make this accessible to a regular patient,” noted co-author Stefan Bornstein. But “for almost a year, these human islets survived without any immunosuppression” – the first report of a transplant that has not necessitated immunosuppressive treatment for the patient.

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