Is it possible to perform a pancreas transplant?

This article is a translation of (¿Es posible realizar un trasplante de páncreas?).

For a long time I wondered why pancreas transplantation was not more widespread as a therapy for the cure of diabetes, if it is clear that the problem lies in the fact that the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or cannot use it correctly, I always thought that replacing the organ Through a transplant would be one of the most direct ways out, however after speaking with an expert nutritionist (Dr. Jennyfer Jacome) I understood the series of implications that make a pancreas transplant a somewhat complicated way out to cure diabetes.

The conclusions I reached go down several different paths that helped me create a more complete picture of why transplantation is not as popular as an effective therapy for diabetes. On the one hand, there are the normal complications involved in an organ transplant such as GVHD (1) or the simple consideration of submitting a patient to surgery in a situation that can be treated with non-invasive therapy. But on the other hand, there is the classification of the disease that divides diabetes into several types, with type one and two diabetes being the ones with the highest incidence in the population, and this is where it gets interesting.

In the case of type 1 diabetes, the body's immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells of the pancreas, which leads to a general insufficiency in the production of insulin, so that if a transplant were carried out in this case, it is very likely that the problem continues and the immune system affects the new transplanted organ. And in the case of type 2 diabetes, the pancreas is capable of creating insulin normally, however the body cannot use it properly, this is known as insulin resistance, therefore organ replacement would not be of benefit regarding the problem. basic. These two problems, although they seem compelling, do not occur in all cases, so the answer to the original question is Yes, in fact, pancreas replacement therapy is used for the treatment or cure of diabetes, although it is not the way more extensively traveled.

Pancreas transplantation is recommended in certain cases of type 1 diabetes and in some cases of type 2 diabetes complicated by severe hypoglycemia or renal failure. Some of the factors that may indicate the need for a pancreas transplant include:

  • Type 1 Diabetes: Patients with type 1 diabetes who have lost the ability to produce insulin and have difficulty controlling their blood sugar levels with insulin and other treatments may be candidates for a pancreas transplant.
  • Type 2 diabetes: In some cases of advanced type 2 diabetes, especially those with severe hypoglycemia or kidney failure, a pancreas transplant may be considered.
  • Kidney failure: In some cases, a combined pancreas-kidney transplant may be recommended for patients with diabetic kidney failure.
  • Quality of life: In some cases, patients with diabetes may experience a significant decrease in their quality of life due to complications of the disease, such as neuropathy, retinopathy, or cardiovascular disease, and a pancreas transplant may be an option to improve the quality of life. quality of life.

It is important to note that pancreas transplantation is not an option for all patients with diabetes and that insulin treatment and other medical treatments remain the most common treatment option for diabetes. Pancreas transplantation is a complex procedure that must be carefully considered by a specialized medical team and the patient.

The importance of organ donation

The reason for writing all this is because today, February 17, is celebrated as World Organ Donation Day every year to raise awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation and to highlight the positive impact it can have. in the lives of people who need a transplant.

The objective of this day is to inform and educate the population about the need for organ and tissue donation to save lives and improve people's quality of life. It also seeks to recognize and honor organ donors and their families, as well as transplant recipients and their caregivers, for their courage and generosity.

World Organ Donation Day is an opportunity for people to share their stories and experiences related to organ donation, to increase awareness and understanding of this issue, and to encourage more people to consider organ donation as a a way to help others in need.

  1. GVHD (also known as graft-versus-host disease) is a serious complication that can occur after a stem cell transplant or solid organ transplant. GVHD occurs when the donor's immune system identifies