Auto-Islet Transplant

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Many doctors refer patients to UCLA because we are one of the only hospitals in the U.S. offering auto-islet transplants for chronic pancreatitis.

What Is Auto-Islet Transplantation?

Patients living with chronic pancreatitis who undergo a pancreatectomy (total pancreas removal) may be eligible for auto-islet transplant. In this procedure, doctors isolate insulin-producing islet cells from your removed pancreas and transplant them into your liver.

Auto-islet transplant reduces the chances that you will develop diabetes after a total pancreatectomy. Roughly one in three patients won’t need any insulin after transplant. Others may have limited pancreatic function that reduces their need for insulin injections.

Auto-Islet Transplant at UCLA

No other hospital in the Southwest performs auto-islet transplants. In fact, we are one of just a few places in the U.S. that performs this advanced procedure.

Our integrated practice unit provides a full team of experts to care for patients who come to UCLA for this procedure. Once our surgeons remove the pancreas, our expert partners at the University of California, San Francisco isolate the islet cells for transplant.

Learn more about us and our innovative clinic.

Auto-Islet Transplant: What to Expect

During an auto-islet transplant:

  1. Doctors deliver your islet cells to your liver, where they produce insulin, via an IV infusion.
  2. Because the cells are your own, your body recognizes them. You will not need to take drugs to stop rejection by your immune system.
  3. Doctors expect you will need little to no insulin after transplant. The greatest successes usually happen with patients who have not undergone pancreatic surgery before.
  4. For those who do develop diabetes afterward, the condition is much more manageable than with total pancreatectomy alone.

Learn more about chronic pancreatitis treatments available at UCLA.