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Home » Diabetes » Discoveries in Diabetes » Fall 2010

Bernhard Hering, M.D.

Bernhard Hering, M.D., director of the Schulze Diabetes Institute and a pioneer in islet transplantation, performed the first successful islet cell transplantation at the U of M 10 years ago.

Discoveries in Diabetes

Celebrating 10 years of insulin independence

Ten years ago, the University performed a first successful islet cell transplant on Lorna Zaworski to treat type 1 diabetes as part of a clinical trial. Today, Zaworski remains insulin independent—demonstrating that islet cell transplants can offer a cure.

Islet cells, which are located in the pancreas, are the body’s only cells that produce insulin. The body mistakenly destroys them during the onset of diabetes.

As leaders in national clinical trials, University doctors have performed numerous islet transplantations since 2000. Today, nearly 90 percent of islet recipients become insulin independent post-transplant and more than 50 percent are still insulin independent 5 years later.

So, if islet transplantation is so successful, why isn’t everyone with diabetes undergoing the procedure?

Listen to a podcast featuring Bernhard Hering, M.D., director of the University’s Schulze Diabetes Institute, who answers this question, explores recent advances in islet transplantation, and offers a glimpse of where the therapy might be in the future.

—Nick Hanson

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