Islet cells from pigs might be the future of islet cell transplantation. There are simply not enough islet cells to provide for even all of the people who consent to be in a clinical trial to get them. Once this procedure has been established to be safe through clinical trials and is made available to all diabetics, the short supply will be even a bigger concern.
Dr. Hering, my doctor :), is one of the pioneers of establishing the use of pig islets to help fill the void. The pigs have to be kept in a very controlled environment to ensure that there are no germs or other harmful factors that would be introduced to the patient with the pig's islet cells. The name of this project is the Spring Point Project. The pig at the side of my blog has all of the information, if anyone wants to know more about it.
It is also a funny aside to note that it is this pig picture that led me to having my transplant. For whatever reason, I just love pigs. My family will be glad to tell you that I have a house full of pigs. Not real pigs. Just pictures and decorations. All in very good taste, of course.
But when I saw this picture, while I was reading about diabetes research and went to the website, I found out about islet cell transplants in this country. I already knew about the Edmonton research, but I had no idea that this was being done here. I emailed an application on the website, and the rest is history.
This picture is part of our Christmas lights display. Isn't it great?