James F. Markmann MD, PhD
Principle Investigator

Email: Jmarkmann@mgh.harvard.edu


Contact: Ji Lei MD MBA, Director
Phone: 617-643-5327
Fax: 617-643-7464
Email: Jlei2@mgh.harvard.edu

Pancreatic Islet Isolation Laboratory
The purpose of Pancreatic Islet Isolation Core of Boston Area Diabetes Endocrinology Research Center (BADRC) is to provide high quality islets to the local diabetes research community. The laboratory is physically located at The Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). It is a specialized services facility (per OMB Circular A-21) and the only lab in New England produces human pancreatic islets under current Good Manufacture Procedure (cGMP) standards. The manufacturing facility supports the MGH clinic islet transplant program, a member of the Consortium of Islet Transplantation (CIT) which is working to advance clinical islet transplantation from an experimental trial to a standard care procedure.

Since its inception in 2008, the MGH Pancreatic Islet Isolation Laboratory has processed more than 160 human pancreata the majority of which generated islets that were distributed to investigators across the US for use in basic research. In 2011, we expanded our program to provide autologous human islet isolation to patients undergoing total pancreatectomy for chronic pancreatitis that has not responded to conventional intervention. This processing service has been offered to outside institutions and to date, approximately 30 patients from Mass General, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center of Dartmouth Medical School have benefited from this innovative technology.

We have conducted a variety of experimental studies on pancreatic islet transplantation in primate, porcine and rodent models. We also collaborate with researchers nationally to provide high quality nonhuman primate (NHP) islets for research. Our extensive experience in areas such as tolerance induction, encapsulation of islets, large/small animal surgery, islet isolation, and animal care allow us to be an ideal resource center for related studies.

Facilities & Equipment
The Boston Area Diabetes Endocrinology Research Center (BADRC) Pancreatic Islet Isolation Laboratory is a cGMP facility comprising leading technology and equipment to meet clinical and research needs.


Clinical Services:

  1. Allogeneic Human Islet Isolation for clinical transplantation to treat severe type I diabetes mellitus
  2. Autologous Human Islet Isolation for clinical transplantation to prevent surgical diabetes after a total pancreatectomy

Services for BADERC Investigators:

  1. Research Human Islet Isolation to provide normal, type I/II diabetic pancreatic islets to researchers worldwide
  2. Large Animal Islet Isolation with expertise in NHP islet isolation and porcine islet isolation
  3. Small Animal Islet Isolation with expertise in mice and rat islet isolation of any strains and age
  4. Experimental Islet Transplant Models NHP and small animal transplantation models are well established and contracted research has been conducted at the facility for several years

Service Fee:  

  • Non-human primate islet isolation: $5040/per pancreas
  • Porcine islet isolation: $16,375/per pancreas
  • Rat islet isolation: $450/per twelve pancreata from one genotype or six pancreata from two different genotypes
  • Mouse islet isolation: $375/per twelve pancreata from one genotype or six pancreata from two different genotypes
  • Human islet isolation: Human islets are available from pancreata dedicated de novo to research use or when islets isolated for clinical use are not transplanted; availability and cost will differ for each type. Islets will be cultured at the core’s GMP facility over night before shipment. Routine quality control tests-Purity, Viability and Sterility will be performed.  Brief donor information will be provided as well.


Investigators need to provide an estimate of the number of human islets (designated below as Islet Equivalents, IEQ) desired for each shipment and the likely number of shipments/year.

Research Pancreas islet isolations- An isolation will be scheduled when IEQ requests have totaled 250,000 and investigators will be notified in advance as to the timing of islet shipment.  Cost will not exceed $0.08/IEQ.

Clinical Pancreas Islet Isolations used for research occur when islet isolates of usual quality intended for transplantation are recovered in insufficient numbers for clinical use. The availability of such isolates is therefore unpredictable; investigators will be informed 24h in advance of shipment. The cost is $0.02/IEQ. Clinical Islet isolates will not be available until later in 2015.

Please contact Dr. Ji Lei for further information and to place orders.

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