RECENT ADVANCES in islet cell transplantation research may provide some encouragement for the long-held hope that a cure for insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus someday may be possible.
As has been pointed out by Gordon C. Weir, MD, and colleagues (Diabetes. 1990;39:401-405), "the lack of any successful human islet transplants has been very frustrating for participants and observers."
Probably the most promising advance in this regard has been the recent achievement of at least temporary insulin independence in two patients in pilot studies at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Mo.
At the 50th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association, in Atlanta, Ga, David W. Scharp, MD, associate professor of surgery at Washington University, reported that the latest patient with diabetes to undergo islet transplantation at his center continued to be insulin independent several weeks after receiving the transplant. That patient is still free from having