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American journal of transplantation


Islet allotransplantation in the United States (US) is facing an imminent demise. Despite nearly three decades of progress in the field, an archaic regulatory framework has stymied US clinical practice. Current regulations do not reflect the state-of-the-art in clinical or technical practices. In the US, islets are considered biologic drugs and "more than minimally manipulated" human cell and tissue products (HCT/Ps). Across the world, human islets are appropriately defined as "minimally manipulated tissue" which has led to islet transplantation becoming a standard-of-care procedure for patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus and problematic hypoglycemia. As a result of the outdated US regulations, only eleven patients underwent allo-ITx in the US between 2011-2016 and all in the setting of a clinical trial. Herein, we describe the current regulations pertaining to islet transplantation in the United States. We explore the progress which has been made in the field and demonstrate why the regulatory framework must be updated to both, better reflect our current clinical practice and to deal with upcoming challenges. We propose specific updates to current regulations which are required for the renaissance of ethical, safe, effective, and affordable allo-ITx in the United States.

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ePub ahead of print