Professor Eelco de Koning introduced transplantation of insulin-producing cells isolated from donor pancreas (islet transplantation) for a small group of patients with Type 1 diabetes in the Netherlands. By making insulin-producing cells from stem cells in the lab, he aims to make this treatment more widely available.
Professor Eelco de Koning is an expert on human insulin-producing cells that reside in the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas. These cells are destroyed in patients with type 1 diabetes, causing problems with their blood sugar levels. Professor de Koning started islet transplantation with insulin-producing cells in 2007. But due to the shortage of organ donors and the necessity to take drugs that suppress the immune system, this solution is only suitable for a few patients. His research therefore focuses on developing insulin-producing cells derived from stem cells in the lab, trying to create an unlimited source of cells for transplantation that could help all patients suffering from type 1 diabetes in the future.
Professor de Koning is a principal investigator at reNEW and head of the Islet Research lab at the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC). He also heads LUMC’s Diabetes Center. Additionally, de Koning is the medical director of the Islet Isolation and Transplantation program in the Netherlands. In 2016, he received the Corona-Gallina Award from the Dutch Diabetes Research foundation.
Professor de Koning is a translational researcher and doctor, who is dedicated to the improvement of care for patients with diabetes mellitus. This is evidenced by his numerous involvements with multiple organizations in the field of diabetes and transplantation and his many lectures and interactions with the public.
reNEW researchers have a strong track record of scientific excellence in stem cell biology
They have performed pioneering work in stem cell research spanning different tissue and cell types, different technological advances and different stages of applied research. This provides an unprecedented international opportunity to utilise the combined wealth of knowledge, complementary skills sets and clinical experience across reNEW to push stem cell discoveries toward translational outcomes.