Mother has pioneering treatment using cells from dead patients that could potentially cure diabetesAnn Adair, who suffers
from type one diabetes, is one of only a handful of people to have successfully had the operation The ground-breaking procedure takes cells from dead patients and transplants them to the livingExperts hope it could lead to a cure for hundreds of thousands of diabetes sufferers
17:09 GMT, 27 November 2012
Deputy headteacher Ann Adair had a ground-breaking procedure which transplants cells from dead patients. Experts hope it could lead to a diabetes cure
A mother has become one of the first in the country to undergo a pioneering operation which it is hoped will one day lead to a cure for diabetes.
The ground-breaking procedure takes cells from dead patients and transplants them to the living.
Deputy headteacher Ann Adair, from Birmingham, who suffers from type one diabetes, has undergone the operation to replace the vital Islet Cells, which are responsible for producing insulin, and has started to see her symptoms reverse.
In type one diabetes the immune system mistakenly destroys the cells so they no longer make the hormone, which leads to dangerously low blood sugar levels.
But now medics have discovered the a way to transplant the pancreatic cells from deceased patients – which means the recipient’s body can once again produce insulin.
The breakthrough could potentially lead to a cure for hundreds of thousands of diabetics, according to Birmingham medic Dr Ming Ming Teh.
Mrs Adair, 43, from Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, had the transplant as part of a trial at Heartlands Hospital three weeks ago – and has already started to feel the positive effects.
The teacher, who is mother to Eve, four, and three-year-old Grace, said: 'This operation has turned back the clock for me.
'The side effects of diabetes become worse as you get older but, since the operation, my symptoms have started to reverse.
'I am now on a significantly lower dosage of insulin and I have only suffered one hypo (hypoglycemic attack) this week, whereas before I was having around five.'
Hypoglycemia occurs when the level of glucose present in the blood falls below a set point. If severe, it can lead to a coma.
Mrs Adair had the transplant at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital three weeks ago – and has already started to feel the positive effects
Mrs Adair, who is married to chartered surveyor Kieran, was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 19.
Her consultant Dr Teh suggested an Islet Cells transplant when her condition worsened this year.
'I looked into it and saw that it was quite cutting edge. He put me forward for it and I was lucky that a match was found so quickly,' she said.
Dr Teh, consultant physician in diabetes and endocrinology at Heartlands, is the first to set up an Islet Transplant Clinic in the Midlands.
He said: 'This procedure could potentially lead to a cure one day.
'There are still a few challenges ahead, but this transplant could make it feasible one day to find a cure for diabetes and hope for the 250,000 sufferers in the UK.'
The procedure involves obtaining
cells from the pancreas of a dead donor and injecting them into the
diabetic's liver. Once there, the cells get to work producing insulin.
Throughout the pancreas are clusters
of cells known as the islets of Langerhans. These islets are made up of
several types of cells, including beta cells which make the insulin.
People with Type 1 diabetes fail to
produce enough insulin or cannot use it properly, which means they have
to rely on injections of the hormone.
The minimally-invasive transplants,
which can take just 45 minutes, mean diabetics can live their lives on
fewer or no injections.