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The Edmonton Protocol: a new diabetes treatment

The Story


Medical researchers at the University of Alberta speak to the media about their groundbreaking study today. The University of Alberta doctors have come up with a new treatment known as the Edmonton Protocol. The Edmonton Protocol makes the liver, instead of the pancreas, the storehouse of insulin. Diabetics and researchers alike hail this discovery as the biggest step forward since the advent of insulin.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: June 6, 2000
Guest(s): Ron Forbes, Dr. Ray Rajotte, Edmond Ryan, Dr. James Shapiro
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Paul Hunter
Duration: 2:42

Did You know?


• The Edmonton Protocol was developed by Dr. James Shapiro at the University of Alberta.

• As of 2003, roughly 200 patients underwent the Edmonton Protocol around the world.

• In the Edmonton Protocol, a needle carrying islet cells is injected into the patient's liver. On average, most patients received two transplants within the course of a month and required only minimal hospital stay of one or two days.

• Islet cells are clustered together in the pancreas and are named collectively the Islets of Langerhans. These cells secrete insulin and glucagons into the bloodstream. A diabetic's islet cells are damaged or destroyed, thereby inhibiting the flow of insulin and boosting blood sugar levels. Insulin is a hormone employed by the body to convert sugar into energy.

• The Edmonton Protocol zeroed in on the liver as an ideal destination for transplanted islet cells because of its ability to regenerate itself. The liver restores blood vessels around the transplanted islet cells and then carries the insulin into the blood stream.

• For a clip on the high financial costs associated with this procedure, see the additional Digital Archives clip Diabetes: Paying for the Edmonton Protocol


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