Surgeons at the University Medical Center in Tucson, Ariz., recently have undertaken the Southwest's first two auto-islet cell transplantations to treat chronic pancreatitis. The procedure offers an alternative to removing the pancreas, which is easier but usually leads to diabetes in patients with the condition. The center might perform between five and 20 islet cell transplants annually and broaden the program to include children with rare familial chronic pancreatitis and Type 1 diabetes, the center's surgery chief said.

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