New surgery offers hope for diabetics

| 4/20/2005

A woman who suffered type 1 diabetes is no longer dependent on insulin after Japanese doctors transplanted cells from her mother’s pancreas into her liver, media outlets worldwide reported. The woman received more than 400,000 of the cells, and they started functioning immediately.

The 27-year-old had been insulin-dependent for more than a decade, but was able to give up the shots about three weeks after the surgery in January. She remains free of diabetes symptoms. Medical experts were hopeful about the results, but cautioned that a significant amount of additional study is needed before the procedure can be called a cure.

Currently, truckers with insulin-dependent diabetes can only get a waiver from the medical requirement if they have three years driving experience while controlling their diabetes. But, before the waiver program was enacted in 2003, drivers weren’t allowed to drive interstate if they were insulin dependent, making the three-year requirement for the waiver virtually impossible to meet.