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10 Things People with Diabetes Should Know About Islet Cell Transplants

Islet cell transplants are making headlines, with the announcement that a new transplant technique has allowed a Texas woman with type 1 diabetes to stop her insulin injections. Here’s what you need to know about this procedure:

Islet cells are actually clusters of cells that produce insulin and other hormones that control blood sugar.

Islet cells are actually clusters of cells that produce insulin and other hormones that control blood sugar.
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#1: What are islet cells?

Named the "Islets of Langerhans" after the German doctor who discovered them in the late 1800s, islet cells are actually clusters of cells that produce insulin and other hormones that control blood sugar. There are about 1 million islets in the pancreas, a hockey stick-shaped organ located behind the stomach. Islets sense levels of glucose in the bloodstream and release hormones in response. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks and destroys most or all of the islets. In type 2 diabetes, cells in the rest of the body stop obeying insulin’s commands. Over time, some islet cells may stop producing insulin as well.
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