Pancreas Transplant Program
Description of Clinical Program
In 1993, Dr. Busuttil brought together a team of physicians and surgeons from the Departments of Medicine, Surgery and Urology and established the multidisciplinary UCLA Pancreas Transplant Program. The Director of the program is now Dr. Gerald S. Lipshutz who joined the UCLA faculty in 2004. Since 1993, more than 250 diabetic kidney transplant patients have also received a pancreas transplant at UCLA. The team now performs a pancreas transplant once every two to three weeks on average, providing more than 95% patients with freedom from insulin therapy.
Types of Pancreas Transplants Performed at UCLA.
Pancreas transplantation is the only current treatment for type 1 diabetes that provides patients freedom from insulin therapy. However, after this surgery, patients must always take medications to prevent transplant rejection and these medications may have side effects. For these reasons, UCLA physicians usually recommend this treatment only to patients that are also in need of a kidney transplant or have already received a kidney transplant. When the pancreas and kidney transplant both come from the same deceased organ donor, and the surgeons transplant the organs at the same operation, the UCLA doctors call this a simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplant. When the patient has already received a kidney transplant, commonly from a live donor, and the surgeons later transplant a pancreas from a different deceased organ donor, the UCLA doctors call this a pancreas after kidney transplant. The UCLA physicians will recommend pancreas transplantation alone to carefully selected patients that have severe problems treating their diabetes with insulin injections, but are not in need of a kidney transplant.
How to refer a patient
Patients may self refer or have their primary physicians refer them to the UCLA Pancreas Transplant Program by calling (310) 825-6836.