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NHS offers pioneering treatment for type 1 diabetes

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Islet transplantation is to become a realistic option for NHS patients with type 1 diabetes.

The government announced today that, from April, six centres across the UK will offer the novel treatment, which involves patients being injected with insulin producing islets.

Health minister Ann Keen said the government would invest up to £2.34m in the initiative in the first year, increasing to a maximum of £7.32m to meet the predicted annual need in the longer term.

She said: ‘This programme will ensure that people who have been unable to treat hypoglycaemia with conventional therapies will benefit from significant improvements to their quality of life.’

Islet transplants have previously been offered to twelve patients in England under funding from charities, principally Diabetes UK.

In the first year, it is expected that around 20 transplants will take place at trusts in Oxford, London, Newcastle, Bristol and Manchester. The service will be expanded to meet the predicted annual need of 80 transplants in subsequent years.

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