Milestones & Successes

stone path

The University of Minnesota has been a leader in transplant medicine since the 1960s, pioneering and refining techniques, as well as training many of the transplant surgeons around the world today.

Our work in pancreas and islet cell transplantation, in particular, has a long history of success.

1963

The University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic establish organ transplantation programs. Surgeons from both facilities perform kidney transplants.

1966

University of Minnesota surgeons Richard C. Lillehei, M.D. and William D. Kelly, M.D. perform the world’s first pancreas transplant.

1967

Drs. Lillehei and Kelly perform the world’s first simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplant.

1974

University of Minnesota surgeons David Sutherland, M.D., Ph.D. and John Najarian, M.D. perform the first allo-islet cell transplant (from a deceased donor to a living recipient) to treat type 1 diabetes.

1977 

Drs. Sutherland and Najarian perform the world’s first auto-islet transplant (using the patient’s own cells) on a person with pancreatitis.

1979

Dr. Sutherland performs the world’s first partial pancreas transplant from a living related donor.

1983

The FDA approves the immunosuppressant drug cyclosporine. Cyclosporine transforms organ transplantation from experimental to routine.

1987

A University of Minnesota/Mayo Clinic collaborative led by Dr. Sutherland and James D. Perkins, M.D. results in the development of a technique for simultaneous liver/pancreas procurement.

1992

Dr. Sutherland performs the first unrelated living-donor pancreas transplant. That same year, Sutherland and Paul Gores, M.D. conduct one of the world’s first clinical islet transplant trials using single donors of simultaneous kidney transplants.

1994

Dr. Sutherland and Rainer Gruessner, M.D. perform the first combined segmental pancreas and kidney transplant from a living donor.

1996

Bernhard Hering, M.D., a world leader in islet transplant therapy and xenotransplantation (transplants from one species to another), joined the University of Minnesota faculty

2000

Dr. Gruessner, Dr. Sutherland and Raja Kandaswamy, M.D. perform the first simultaneous laparoscopic living donor pancreas-kidney transplant.

2008

The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation provides a grant to put the Schulze Diabetes Institute on an accelerated path to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes.

2010

Recognizing our success, the National Institutes of Health renewed funding for us to continue our human islet clinical trials. Of the 7 sites in the United States chosen to conduct these trials, no other site has enrolled more patients than the University of Minnesota.

Today, nearly 90% of islet transplant recipients become insulin independent post-transplant, and more than 50% remain so after 5 years.

2013

The Schulze Diabetes Institute transplants final patient as part of Phase III clinical trial of human islet transplants for people with difficult-to-manage type 1 diabetes.

2014

The University of Minnesota transplants human islets into its 100th individual with type 1 diabetes.

Christopher Burlak, Ph.D., joins the Schulze Diabetes Institute with a focus on understanding xenotransplant immunology, and the generation of genetically modified donor pigs.

2015

The University of Minnesota completes its 600th total pancreatectomy and islet auto-transplant for the treatment of chronic pancreatitis

2016

Hering is lead author on a paper documenting the clinical outcomes of a Phase III clinical trial showing that pancreatic islet cell transplantation can prevent episodes of severe hypoglycemia in people who have type 1 diabetes and restore blood sugar awareness and control.

Contact Us

Leeanne Dongses
Email: leeanne@umn.edu
Phone: 612-626-5697

Schulze Diabetes Institute
University of Minnesota
420 Delaware Street SE, MMC 195
Minneapolis MN 55455

E. Brian Flanagan, Ph.D.
Office: 612-625-6743
Fax:612-626-5855
E-mail: flana051@umn.edu

Scientific Program Director
Schulze Diabetes Institute
411B Masonic Memorial Building
420 Delaware St. SE, MMC 195
Minneapolis, MN 55455