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Medical University of Gdansk and CellT in Poland


Initiation of the collaboration for the development of the Pancreatic Islet Transplantation Program in Poland

In 2011, Dean of Medical University of Gdansk, Prof dr hab med Morys hosted meeting with representatives from the University Hospital, the University of Chicago and Laboratory for Cell and Tissue Transplantation CellT, which initiated collaborative efforts on development of the Pancreatic Islet Transplantation Program in Gdansk, Poland. 

2012- 2017 

Program development

  • Training in islet isolation technique at University of Chicago GMP Facility

  • Training for clinicians in patient care before, during and after Islet Transplantation in Chicago (list of trainings)

  • Construction and activation of the GMP facility at CellT Laboratory

  • Development of research collaboration and training activity between Medical University of Gdansk and CellT 

  • Accreditation for the islet cell processing and banking 

  • Accreditation for the clinical islet cell transplantation procedure

Oct 27, 2018 

FIRST Pancreatic Islet Transplant was performed  

at Medical University of Gdansk Hospital in Gdansk, Poland


see link with news from the University website 

Over the last 7 years, we have been guiding team of transplant physicians from Medical University of Gdansk in developing the Program of Pancreatic Islet Transplantation.

Over that time selected physicians from Gdansk were trained in Chicago and gained necessary skills and experience to build the program.  


Dr Justyna Golebiewska, a transplant nephrologist from Gdansk came for training in Chicago supported by the Fellowship Award from the European Society for Transplantation. Professor Thierry Berney from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, President of ESOT and leader in the field of islet transplantation has been also supporting the development of the Islet Program in Gdansk for many years training first a surgeon- Dr. Justyna Kosto in Geneva and recently awarding Dr Golebiewska her scholarship in Chicago.

Our team from Chicago also advised designing a special GMP Laboratory for cell and tissue preparation for clinical therapy organized by CellT in collaboration with the university and trained the personnel in islet isolations. 

Development of the islet transplant program was supported by the funding from the Polish Government Program STRATEGMED, secured and led by Professor Piotr Trzonkowski, Chief of Transplant Immunology at Medical University of Gdansk. See More.

Dr. Karolina Golab, our Lab Manager went to Gdansk to lead and support local team during the  isolation for the first clinical transplant, while Dr Witkowski supported patient medical managment and islet transplant procedure. 

Transplant was uneventful and patient has been recovering well with progressing islet engraftment.

Program in Gdansk is currently the only clinically active Islet Transplantation Center in Poland.




March 2019 

It has been over 5 months since first patient received islet transplant in Gdansk, Poland. 


Blood glucose control has improved substantially as soon as a couple of weeks after the procedure. His A1c decreased already from 8.0 to 6.6

However, the most important advantage was that he stopped experiencing severe hypoglycemic episodes. He and his family  and stopped fearing of sudden death from hypoglycemia, Blood glucose has never climbed over 220mg/ml anymore.

See CGM reading below. 

Poland Pre islet Tx.jpg

   CGM recording BEFORE islet transplant. 

After islet Tx.jpg

   CGM recording 2 months AFTER islet transplant. 

March 22, 2019 

SECOND Pancreatic Islet Transplant was performed  

at Medical University of Gdansk Hospital in Gdansk, Poland

Pancreatic islet transplant was carried out for a second time in Gdansk. A second patient who was suffering from a very brittle form of type 1 diabetes received his islet transplant. Patient experienced frequent life-threatening  severe hypoglycemic episodes due to hypoglycemic unawareness. Basically, his blood glucose used to swing from 400mg/ml to 20mg/ml without any warning symptoms, patient was passing out or developed seizure, could died anytime without help from other people. 

The goal of islet transplant is to prevent severe hypoglycemic episodes, improved blood glucose control and patient quality of life alleviating anxiety and worry about sudden death.  

This time again, Dr. Karolina Golab, our Lab Manager went to Gdansk to lead and support local team at CellT Laboratory during the islet processing and transplantation. We also here is Chicago, were supporting our colleagues in Gdansk over the "face time"..

Patient has been already discharged from the hospital without complications. .Transpanted  Islets need around 2 months for full engraftment and recovery before are fully functional. 



Sept 3rd, 2019 

4rd and 5th Pancreatic Islet Transplant were performed  

at Medical University of Gdansk Hospital in Gdansk, Poland over the summer.

Third patient with stable kidney graft function but poor glucose control and severe hypoglycemic episodes received islet transplant in Gdansk in May of this year. 

This was the first procedure fully performed by Team gdansk without our direct involvement. 

Fourth islet transplant was performed in the very first patient, who already decrease insulin requirements in half after his first procedure in October of last year. The goal this time is further improve glucose control and hopefully wean off insulin completely. 

Another advancement, it was a first case where team of surgeons from Gdansk travelled to a distant city to procure donor pancreas developing nationwide collaboration. 



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