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Advances in Islet Transplantation

Michael D McCall, MD and AM James Shapiro, MD, PhD

There have been many advances in islet transplantation since the initial attempt in 1893, when Watson–Williams and Harsant transplanted minced sheep’s pancreas into the subcutaneous tissues of a young patient with diabetic ketoacidosis [1]. Although the boy died 3 days later, there was a mild improvement in his glucose control. However, the subsequent discovery of insulin and the production of a near-endless supply pushed islet transplantation into the realm of mere research curiosity for a number of decades.

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