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Expert on New Diabetes Treatment to Speak Saturday at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Breay W. Paty, M.D., of the University of Alberta, Canada, will speak here Saturday, Nov. 16, on the Edmonton Protocol, a promising new treatment for Type 1 diabetes. Paty will speak at the Fifth Annual Diabetes Management Conference at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

Paty is a diabetologist at the Clinical Islet Transplantation Program at the University of Alberta and has co-authored several diabetes-related articles and book chapters. Paty is a colleague of Jonathan R.T. Lakey, Ph.D., who had been scheduled to speak at the diabetes conference but had to cancel due to a family emergency.

Islet cell transplantation in the pancreas, where insulin is made and regulated, was developed in the 1960s as an alternative to whole-pancreas transplants, but success was limited due mainly to the body’s rejection of the transplanted cells.

The Edmonton Protocol, first used in 1999, has dramatically improved the success of islet cell transplantation. “The protocol involves a unique steroid-free antirejection drug combination … together with delivery of a large islet engraftment mass,” Lakey and colleagues reported in an article in The Lancet in December 2001.

The treatment “has shown 100 percent early success in seven patients, all of whom were able to discontinue treatment with insulin for longer than one year,” the article said. “Of the 17 treated under the Edmonton protocol, 85 percent remain insulin free at one year, and 80 percent are still free of insulin beyond 2 years. Side-effects of treatment have been mild, and the therapy is well-tolerated by most patients. Elimination of the risk of coma has been the most tangible benefit.”

A major international trial of the Edmonton Protocol is under way, and new islet isolation centers are being developed. But, the article warns, the antirejection drugs carry risks, and “only when safer ways to control rejection have been developed, and a limitless source of cells producing insulin become available, will cell replacement therapy become a potential cure for the 135 million patients with diabetes worldwide.”

The Diabetes Management Conference, which is intended for medical professionals, will be held in the Nutrition Center Education Wing at the Medical Center. Registration begins at 7:45 a.m. and the program begins at 8:45. Preregistration is requested, through the Office of Continuing Education.

Paty’s speech is part of the year-long Centennial celebration of Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

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