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Journal of Transplantation
Volume 2012, Article ID 642787, 8 pages
Research Article

Isolation of Human Islets for Autologous Islet Transplantation in Children and Adolescents with Chronic Pancreatitis

1Division of Immunogenetics, Department of Pediatrics, Rangos Research Center, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, 4401 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224, USA
2RiMeD Foundation, via Bandiera 11, Palermo 90133, Italy
3Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, 200 Lothrop Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA
4Thomas Starzl Transplantation Institute, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, E1540 Biomedical Science Tower (BST) 200 Lothrop Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA
5Department of Surgery, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, and School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, 4401 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15224, USA
6Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, 5150 Center Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15232, USA
7Department of Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary and Transplant Surgery, Digestive Disease Institute, Cleveland Clinic, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA
8Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 200 Lothrop Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA

Received 13 July 2011; Accepted 11 October 2011

Academic Editor: Waldo Concepcion

Copyright © 2012 Rita Bottino et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Chronic pancreatitis is an inflammatory disease of the pancreas that causes permanent changes in the function and structure of the pancreas. It is most commonly a complication of cystic fibrosis or due to a genetic predisposition. Chronic pancreatitis generally presents symptomatically as recurrent abdominal pain, which becomes persistent over time. The pain eventually becomes disabling. Once specific medical treatments and endoscopic interventions are no longer efficacious, total pancreatectomy is the alternative of choice for helping the patient achieve pain control. While daily administrations of digestive enzymes cannot be avoided, insulin-dependent diabetes can be prevented by transplanting the isolated pancreatic islets back to the patient. The greater the number of islets infused, the greater the chance to prevent or at least control the effects of surgical diabetes. We present here a technical approach for the isolation and preservation of the islets proven to be efficient to obtain high numbers of islets, favoring the successful treatment of young patients.