New Treatment May Prevent Diabetes After Pancreatitis Surgery

NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, a national leader in diabetes care, is first in NY metro area to offer new procedure

Sep 22, 2014


NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center now offers autologous islet cell transplantation, or auto islet surgery, to prevent diabetes in patients who require a total pancreatectomy. The hospital is the first center in the New York metropolitan area to offer this treatment.

Every year, roughly 87,000 people in the United States receive surgical treatment for pancreatitis, a debilitating condition that causes intense abdominal pain and, potentially, diabetes. Pancreatitis can be so painful that, in some cases, patients must have the entire pancreas removed. While surgery relieves pain in 90 percent of cases, patients are left without the ability to produce insulin, causing a difficult-to-treat form of Type 1 diabetes known as "brittle diabetes."

In auto islet surgery, the patient's islet cells, which produce hormones that regulate the endocrine system, are extracted from the pancreas after it is removed. The cells are then processed and reinfused into the patient's liver. When auto islet surgery is successful, the reinfused cells produce insulin, acting in place of the pancreas to regulate blood sugar.

The most recent findings show that about one third of patients require no insulin therapy after autologous islet transplantation, another third require some insulin therapy after the procedure, and the procedure is unsuccessful in preventing diabetes in the remaining third.

"The goal of pancreatectomy is to relieve pain," says Dr. Beth Schrope, gastrointestinal surgeon and assistant professor of surgery, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, who specializes in the treatment of pancreatitis. "Returning to normal activities and living without pain is a tremendous improvement in patients' quality of life. Now with islet transplantation, there's an added bonus—the possible prevention of diabetes."

NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center is currently accepting patients for auto islet surgery, through a joint effort of NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia's Pancreas Center and the Stem Cell Processing and Cell Therapy Laboratory of the Department of Pathology. Patients who need a total pancreatectomy for benign diseases (such as chronic pancreatitis) may be eligible for this procedure to avoid Type 1 diabetes.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, located in New York City, is one of the leading academic medical centers in the world, comprising the teaching hospital NewYork-Presbyterian and its academic partner, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine, and is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital also comprises NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division, NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital. The hospital is also closely affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area, according to U.S. News & World Report, and consistently named to the magazine's Honor Roll of best hospitals in the nation.

Columbia University Medical Center

Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, preclinical, and clinical research; medical and health sciences education; and patient care. The medical center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York City and State and one of the largest faculty medical practices in the Northeast.

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