Islet Transplant Laboratory

Islet cell transplant is an innovative therapy that has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of type 1 diabetes. We have demonstrated that a life without insulin injections is possible, and the procedure is a significant first step toward improving the quality of life of patients living with type 1 diabetes.

Dr. Steven Paraskevas

Director of Pancreas and Islet Transplant Program, MUHC

The Challenge

Type 1 diabetes is a life-changing diagnosis. The illness cannot be prevented and living with the disease can be a constant battle as it requires lifelong monitoring of blood sugar along with daily insulin injections, making regular day-to-day tasks such as planning a meal or even doing basic exercise a challenge. If left untreated, type 1 diabetes can cause serious complications including blindness, stroke, kidney failure and cardiovascular disease.

With the complications of type 1 diabetes continuing to plague more and more Canadians and rising costs related to properly monitoring the illness, there is now an even greater need to provide better access to new and innovative treatments that will improve the personal management of type 1 diabetes and help to reduce the possibility of complications and the burden on our healthcare system.

The Solution

muhc-foundation-dr-steven-paraskevas-islet-transplant-lab-200x300The MUHC’s Islet Transplant Laboratory has been working to improve the quality of life of patients living with type 1 diabetes and it specializes in the research and transplant of islet cells, a cutting-edge procedure that restores the body’s ability to produce its own insulin. Developed as an alternative to a pancreas transplant, which carries significant risks and often involves extended time in the Intensive Care Unit, islet transplant begins with islet cells being separated and isolated from a donor pancreas, a procedure that requires years of investment in technology and medical expertise. Once isolated, the islets can then be infused into a patient’s liver through a small catheter in the abdomen, without the need for surgery. This minimally invasive procedure has greatly improved the patient experience as there is less risk of infection and an improved recovery time.

The MUHC has been developing the expertise to conduct this procedure for the past decade, and it is the only centre in eastern Canada and one of only a dozen in North America capable of isolating and transplanting human islet cells. The MUHC conducted the first islet cell transplant in Quebec and in order to remain at the forefront of islet transplant, it must:

  • Conduct research that will refine the islet cell transplant procedure so it becomes a viable treatment for more patients suffering from type 1 diabetes in Canada
  • Purchase the latest medical equipment to improve the transplant procedure by maximizing the amount of islet cells that can be isolated and infused thereby increasing success rates
  • Recruit the best talent to ensure that patients are benefitting from the latest islet transplant research and treatment right here at home
  • Improve patient outcomes by providing a safer and non-invasive procedure that decreases hospital stays and reduces risk
  • Establish an islet cell network so other healthcare facilities can perform islet cell transplant, increasing the number of patients who could benefit from the procedure

How you can help

We are raising $1 million to support the needs of the MUHC’s Islet Transplant Laboratory.

You can donate online, download our donation form or call us at 514-843-1543.

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We thought we’d give this trend a try for a little Friday fun! ☺️ So many incredible memories made at the RVH Legacy Site, and it continues to give back to the community. As a team we forge ahead, changing the course of lives and medicine and pushing the limits of what’s possible to improve the lives of Montrealers, and of people across the globe! Centre universitaire de santé McGill - McGill University Health Centre

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Photographer & Pink in the City volunteer, Gaëlle Vuillaume shaved her head in support of her mother who is fighting breast cancer. She was joined by breast cancer survivor Gwenaela Larvor! They have so far collectively raised almost $5,000 for the Centre universitaire de santé McGill - McGill University Health Centre Breast Clinic’s Wellness Program, along with Sophie Rokakis. ❤️🙌

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En tant que Fondation, nous avons toujours cru au pouvoir de la philanthropie et de notre communauté, mais l’impact de la collaboration entre les leaders communautaires au cours des derniers mois de la pandémie pour répondre aux plus grands besoins du CUSM a été extraordinaire.

C’est aussi la raison pour laquelle nous sommes si fiers de présenter notre cabinet de campagne Osez rêver, dirigé par les coprésidents, l’honorable Jean Charest, ancien premier ministre du Québec; Marc Parent, président et chef de la direction de CAE; et Suzanne Legge Orr, éminente leader communautaire. Rencontrez le reste de l'équipe! 🏥 bit.ly/2GzyvN5

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We’re so proud to present our Dream Big campaign cabinet, led by campaign co-chairs, the Honourable Jean Charest, former premier of Quebec; Marc Parent, President and CEO of CAE; and Suzanne Legge Orr, prominent community leader. Meet the rest of the team! 🏥 bit.ly/2SAjn4p
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6 days ago

Fondation CUSM - MUHC Foundation

On this week’s Health Matters: We’re two years into the legalization of cannabis in Canada. Dr. Carolyn Baglole discusses the existing stigmas surrounding medical cannabis and one patient shares how cannabis is helping her manage her chronic pain.

Also this week, Gaëlle Vuillaume shares her personal reasons for raising funds for breast cancer research and shaving her head. And Dr. Sarkis Meterissian details where your donations go and how they help breast cancer patients.

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In case you missed it! MI4's Dr. Don Sheppard joined CTV Montreal's Mutsumi Takahashi for an in-depth chat about COVID-19, the ongoing medical and research breakthroughs happening right here in Montreal and Centre universitaire de santé McGill - McGill University Health Centre, and how philanthropy is having an impact.📱 bit.ly/3o1wDxk ... See MoreSee Less

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