This laboratory forms part of the Experimental Medicine Centre and closely cooperates with the Diabetology Centre of IKEM.
The main aim of the laboratory is to develop methods of isolation and transplantation of the islets of Langerhans as the therapeutic method for diabetes. The experimental laboratory develops new procedures, which are subsequently tested in the clinical laboratory. The clinical laboratory forms part of the operating tract and complies with the conditions for therapeutic use of human tissue. Currently, the laboratory staff includes 3 biologists, 4 doctors (usually postgraduate students), 2 technical assistants and a mechanic. The Laboratory for the Islets of Langerhans is prepared to process every suitable pancreas from deceased donors that satisfies the collection criteria. If the isolation is successful, the islets of Langerhans can be used for transplantation.
This programme was initiated in 2005. Activities of the laboratory are especially supported by the Research Plan of IKEM and also by grants of the Internal Grant Agency of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. Besides the development of isolation techniques, principal research projects include the study of non-invasive imaging methods of the islets after transplantation, the study of possible ways of propagating insulin-producing tissues from adult stem cells of the pancreas and umbilical cord blood cells, and furthermore the development of cellular indicators of autoimmune and alloimmune destruction of the islets.
The laboratory forms part of the research Centre of Cell Therapy and Transplant Replacement and cooperates with similar laboratories in Europe and in the US.