Pancreas transplantation today: quo vadis?

Abdulrahman O Al-Naseem, Ahmed Attia, Ahmed Reda Gonnah, Abdulaziz O A S Al-Naseem, Harry V M Spiers, Angelika Gruessner, Lalantha Leelarathna, Hood Thabit, Titus Augustine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Successful pancreas or islet transplantation is currently the only cure for type 1 diabetes mellitus. Since the first pancreas transplant in 1966, there have been various refinements of surgical technique along with improved immunosuppressive regimens, resulting in significantly improved outcomes, with contemporary research into graft monitoring and newer biomarkers, potentially lengthening graft survival rates further. Patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus who are eligible for pancreas or islet transplantation represent a select group, the tip of the iceberg for a significant global diabetes disease burden. In the last 50 years, there have been quantum advances in alternative technologies in diabetes therapy, both experimental and translational. Further development and improved access are required to treat the larger proportion of people suffering from diabetes. Emerging stem cell therapy is still experimental whereas alternatives including automated insulin delivery systems and islet cell transplantation are already used in some countries. Whilst automated insulin delivery systems have increased in efficacy, they still do not achieve the near physiological control of blood sugar, which can be achieved by successful pancreas or islet transplantation. This state-of-the-art review provides a summary of pancreas and islet transplantation to its current place in diabetes therapy, along with alternative and future therapies, including the obstacles associated with the dissemination of these new therapies. With the advent of these modern cellular and technological advances, this review addresses the question: are we entering an era where whole organ pancreas transplantation could be replaced entirely by modern technological advances in diabetes therapy?

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R73-R87
JournalEuropean Journal of Endocrinology
Issue number4
Early online date17 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2023


  • diabetes mellitus
  • endocrine pancreas
  • insulin
  • pancreas transplant
  • transplantation


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