Massimo Trucco, MD, on the Potential of Islet Cell Transplant


The director of the Alleghany Health Network Institute of Cellular Therapeutics discussed possible applications of the procedure.

“Chronic pancreatitis can lead to cancer. So, that is a consideration for doing the auto transplant in children to avoid a problem that can develop in the future. In adults, the organs are already working sub-optimally and the cell-to-liver transplant is not the best because the liver is not the best. The general body of the recipient is not working very well.”

The pancreatic islet cell replacement therapy VX-880 reduced insulin dependence in the first 2 patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D) treated as part of a phase 1/2 study (NCT04786262).1 Islet cells are emerging as a possible approach to cell therapies in such indications including T1D and chronic pancreatitis.

Recently, Alleghany Health Network performed the first islet cell transplant for the treatment of chronic pancreatitis.2 The project leader is Massimo Trucco, MD, director, Alleghany Health Network Institute of Cellular Therapeutics. As part of the treatment, Trucco and colleagues remove the pancreas to eliminate the chronic pancreatitis and transplant islet cells to the liver to continue insulin production.

CGTLive spoke with Trucco to learn more about the islet cell transplant procedure. He discussed eligibility and potential other applications for the transplants.

1. Markmann JF, Naji A, Rickels MR, et al. Stem cell–derived, fully differentiated islet cells for type 1 diabetes. Presented at: ADA 82nd Scientific Sessions Conference, June 6, 2022, New Orleans, Louisiana. Abstract #259-OR.
2. AHN performs its first islet cell transplants to treat chronic pancreatitis. News release. AHN. October 5, 2021.

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