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Czech scientists discover new diabetes treatment

Czech scientists have discovered a way to detect a threatening defect of pancreas islets in patients after the islets’ transplant, which will enable doctors to intervene and renew the islets’ function in time.

08.05.2006

According to a World Health Organization estimate, there were 177 million diabetics world-wide in the year 2000. Around four million deaths per year are related to the presence of diabetes disorder, i.e. about 9% of the global total.

Langerhans islets produce insulin, a vital substance for the human body. If a diabetic’s inefficient islets are transplanted, he/she no longer has to take insulin intravenously. The donor’s islets are transplanted to the recipient’s body through an infusion and they manage to reach the pancreas by themselves. A patient with new islets is actually cured and only has to take medication to regulate his/her immunity as a result of having accepted another’s tissue.

”A contrast substance containing iron is inserted in the body, and it is reflected on a magnetic resonance display. It is the first time in the world that this has been achieved. Doctors in Harvard, also tried to achieve this, but were unable to do so. They recognize that we were first,” said Stefan Vitko, head of the Prague Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IKEM).

”This is a great success for our team. We successfully defended our discovery at the world meeting of specialists in diabetes treatment in Washington last week,“ Vitko said.

The method was developed and tested on animals by Frantisek Saudek, the IKEM diabetes clinic’s head physician, along with his colleague Jan Kriz.

Leading world facilities have already shown serious interest in cooperation and in applying the newly discovered method.

Source: Czech News Agency (8. 5. 2006)