Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Arm Is The New Pancreas

Man was meant to play god, apparently.

I had never even heard of islets before reading this story, and yet they're vital in producing insulin. It turns out that having your pancreas removed makes you lose all your islets, and you end up unable to produce insulin and come down with type I diabetes.

That's why the solution is to make a new pancreas in your arm. Well, normally they put the islets in your liver and a new pancreas analog sets up shop there, but in this patient's case they couldn't choose that option because of liver damage.

I'm curious to see if the creation of a new, arm-based pancreas could lead to the creation of better treatments for diabetics. Let's hope so.

It's a fascinating story, mostly because it uses the word "pancreases."

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The header image is adapted from a photo taken by Bill McChesney and used under a creative commons license.
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