Recipient story: Penny
Penny Hilsman was 15 when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. “No one in my family had type 1 diabetes. My family lived in Mexico at the time, and my sister and I were visiting our grandparents in the United States. I had lost weight and was always thirsty, so my grandfather suggested to my grandmother that I be taken to the doctor to be checked for diabetes, but she hadn’t organized an appointment.
SVI Director, Professor Tom Kay, has been elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS).
6 years of insulin independence
In January 2010, SVI’s Dr Tom Loudovaris gently packaged precious insulin-producing islets that had been isolated from a donor pancreas into a container for transport to Adelaide. When the package arrived at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the islets were infused into an Adelaide woman, Margaret Harrigan.
Researchers from St Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research (SVI) have for the first time been able to catch immune cells at the ‘scene of the crime’ in type 1 diabetes, by isolating them from the pancreas of an organ donor who had the disease.
A team of South Australian surgeons, with the support and collaboration of local, national and international experts, have performed an Australian-first operation at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH).