Hospital’s 100th Transplant Effectively Ends Patient’s Type 1 Diabetes 

Dr. Luis Campos, the surgeon who led the transplant operation at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: Physicians at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of Mubadala’s healthcare network, have performed the UAE’s first pancreas transplant in an operation that also saw the patient receive a new kidney.

The five-hour combined operation saw a young woman in her twenties with type 1 diabetes receive both a new kidney to treat her diabetes related kidney failure and a new pancreas to eliminate her reliance on insulin injections. Following the operation, her new kidney will be able to filter waste from her blood while her new pancreas will produce insulin to manage her blood sugar, effectively ending her status as a type 1 diabetic.

The transplant milestone took place in November and offers fresh hope for type 1 diabetics with significant complications such as kidney failure or those who cannot successfully control their blood sugar with insulin injections.

“The introduction of pancreas transplantation in the UAE has the potential to significantly change lives for the better. We can now combine a life-saving kidney transplant with a life altering pancreas transplant that frees patients with type 1 diabetes from daily insulin injections. For patients who have been living with the need to inject insulin every day, that feeling of liberation can be truly profound,” says Dr. Luis Campos, the surgeon who led the transplant operation at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

The rare, dual organ transplant marked Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s 100th organ transplant since the introduction of transplant services in 2017. The hospital is the only multi-organ transplant center in the UAE and one of only a small number worldwide with the expertise, facilities and training to be able to perform pancreatic transplants. The operation requires detailed planning, and the input of a multidisciplinary team of surgeons, endocrinologists, social workers, nurses and allied health professionals.

Unlike type 2 diabetes, which is linked to lifestyle factors such as obesity, type 1 diabetes occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. The condition usually presents during childhood and affects around 5% of all diabetics worldwide.

“Pancreas transplants are very complex operations that require a great deal of evaluation before the surgery can take place. Most patients with type 1 diabetes can manage their blood sugar using insulin injections. However, if they develop kidney disease that progresses to the point they require a transplant, combining that procedure with a pancreas transplant can really change their life, allowing them to eat and drink normally, without worrying about their blood sugar levels,” continues Dr. Campos.

Since undergoing surgery, the recipient continues to recover well, and her body is able to produce insulin for the first time in more than 20 years. Transplant recipients receive close monitoring in the first weeks and months following their operation as they resume their normal lives. 

About Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi:

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of Mubadala’s network of world-class healthcare providers, is a multispecialty hospital on Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is a unique and unparalleled extension of US-based Cleveland Clinic’s model of care, specifically designed to address a range of complex and critical care requirements unique to the Abu Dhabi population.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has the following Institutes: Heart & Vascular, Neurological, Digestive Disease, Eye, Respiratory, Critical Care, Surgical Subspecialties, Medical Subspecialties, Emergency Medicine, Anesthesiology, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Imaging, Quality & Patient Safety, and Clinical & Nursing. In all, more than 40 medical and surgical specialties are represented at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

The facilities at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi combine state-of-the-art amenities and world-class service standards. The hospital is a 394 (expandable to 490) bed facility, with five clinical floors, three diagnostic and treatment levels, and 13 floors of critical and acute inpatient units. It is a physician-led medical facility served by North American/European Board Certified (or equivalent) physicians. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi provides patients in the region direct access to the world’s best healthcare providers and Cleveland Clinic’s unique model of care, reducing their need to travel abroad for treatment.

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi – Al Ain began offering select medical services in December 2017. The facility is located on the Tawam Hospital Campus in Al Ain.

About Mubadala Investment Company:

Mubadala Investment Company is a sovereign investor managing a global portfolio, aimed at generating sustainable financial returns for the Government of Abu Dhabi.

Mubadala’s $232 billion (AED 853 billion) portfolio spans six continents with interests in multiple sectors and asset classes. We leverage our deep sectoral expertise and long-standing partnerships to actively source deals. In the UAE, we are driving sustainable growth by optimizing scale and efficiency, supporting the continued diversification and global integration of the local economy while growing our shareholder value. 

Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, Mubadala has offices in London, Rio de Janeiro, Moscow, New York, San Francisco and Beijing.