The project worked on the isolation and functional characterisation of pancreatic beta and surrogate insulin-producing cells and provided the basic research underpinning the establishment of the UK Islet Transplant Consortium. The Consortium, chaired by Professor James Shaw (Newcastle), prepared a successful bid to the National Commissioning Group for NHS funding and NICE approval of an integrated UK NHS Islet Transplant Programme.
The Programme, launched nationally in 2008, is the world's first government-funded islet transplant service dedicated to patients with type 1 diabetes. This programme saw the establishment of six transplant centres which provide a cost-effective national program for islet transplantation. These centres were commissioned to deliver a cure for recurrent life-threatening hypoglycaemia.
Islet transplants have been successfully performed on 65 patients between April 2008 and March 2013, with a reduction in severe hypoglycaemic events (>95 per cent) and improved glycaemic control.