Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition where the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas stop functioning. As a result, patients with type 1 diabetes require lifelong insulin therapy to control their blood sugar levels.
Despite treatment with insulin, a very small proportion of people with type 1 diabetes experience large, unpredictable changes in their blood sugar level. Some of these people aren’t aware when their blood sugar gets to dangerously low levels. This is known as hypoglycemic unawareness. Hypoglycemic unawareness can significantly affect quality of life and can potentially lead to brain damage or premature death.
Pancreatic islet transplantation is a type of cell replacement therapy in which islets (tiny clusters of cells) from the pancreases of deceased organ donors are purified, processed, and transplanted into another person. The goal of pancreatic islet transplantation is to improve blood sugar control, and in particular to reduce hypoglycemic unawareness. Some patients are even able to stop using insulin altogether.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has accepted this recommendation.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has provided the following response: The Ministry is currently funding the pancreas islet cell transplantation procedure as a treatment option for eligible adults with type 1 diabetes mellitus who meet appropriate clinical criteria.