Organ Donor Information
Information on nPOD Organ Donors
At nPOD, we are continually humbled by the decision families make to contribute to type 1 diabetes research through organ donation. A family’s gift to diabetes research is the gift of hope for a cure for future generations.
nPOD generally accepts these donations through accredited Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) that are authorized to serve all regions across the United States. To further scientific knowledge, the following groups of donor gifts to nPOD investigators are of particular importance:
Donors with diagnosed Type 1 diabetes:
These donors are key to helping our scientific investigators unlock the early disease process in Type 1 diabetes and answer fundamental questions about the autoimmune process that leads to the destruction of the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas. This also includes those that have received a pancreas transplant as a result of type 1 diabetes. nPOD depends on Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) to help us identify these donors.
Donors who have type 1 diabetes-related autoantibodies, are between the ages of 0-30, and have not been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes:
Gifts from this group of donors will help scientists study the autoimmune process at the very earliest stages of beta-cell destruction. To identify these donors, nPOD has set up autoantibody screening laboratories at four locations in the United States.
Donors with a pancreas or pancreas kidney transplant, diagnosed Type 1 diabetes: These donors can improve our understanding of human type 1 diabetes (T1D) during its natural history, including in the context of transplantation.
FAQ: Becoming an Organ Donor
If you are interested in being an nPOD organ donor, we recommend notifying your family of your wishes to donate your pancreas to nPOD, and please be sure you are a registered organ donor.
If you are not registered to be an organ donor, and are interested, please visit http://organdonor.gov/. Within this site, you can register by your state of residence. This site also provides information about transplantation, research, and organ donation.
Here is a good overview presentation of the organ donation process from organdonor.gov.
Real people support organ donation to nPOD. Please read Anne’s story for more information.
ORGAN DONATION FOR T1D PATIENTS
Q: Why should someone with type 1 diabetes donate organs to nPOD?
A: Scientists have cured the type 1 diabetic mouse over 500 different ways but these cures do not translate to human cures. nPOD scientists are looking at what is happening within the tissues impacted by the immune system to see what cells are active at the time of beta cell destruction. Peripheral blood studies cannot capture this level of detail and it is critical to study human tissue. We really want to stress that we need the combination of blood samples from living patients in clinical trials and tissue from deceased donors if we are to make progress on combatting this disease. Most of our scientists are working with both patient clinical trials and then testing new theories of beta cell destruction within the anatomical donations made to nPOD. Click here to learn some of the key findings from the nPOD study so far.
Q: I have type 1 diabetes. Can I be an organ donor?
A: Absolutely. Anatomical donations to diabetes research can make those with type 1 diabetes part of the cure. Sign up with your state’s donor registry as part of the National Donor Registry and Donate Life America. It is also good to make your intent to donate to diabetes research known to your family, doctor, lawyer or religious leader.
Q: Are there age limits on who can be an organ donor?
A: There are no age limits on who can be an organ donor. Newborns as well as senior citizens have been organ donors. If you are younger than 18, you must have a parent’s or guardian’s consent. If you are 18 years or older, you can sign up at your state’s donor registry site, or during a visit to renew your driver’s license.
Q: What organs can I donate?
A: When a person has type 1 diabetes, the pancreas is not suitable for transplant but can be very meaningful for research. Heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and intestines are possible to transplant, and other tissues such as corneal donations can improve or save lives as well. Each donor is evaluated by their local OPO according to factors such as age, medical, and social history.
Q: Does my religion support organ donation?
A: All major religions support donation as a charitable act of giving. Most religious groups support donation as the highest gesture of humanitarianism. Talk with your religious leader if you’d like more information.
Q: Will my family have to pay if I’m an organ donor?
A: There is no cost to the donor’s family or estate for the donation of organs. Costs associated with the recovery of organs, laboratory testing, and other services are covered by the recipients and/or their medical insurance. nPOD covers these expenses for each pancreas donated for type 1 diabetes research.
Q: Why is nPOD needed? Why can’t you just study live patients in clinical trials?
A: nPOD scientists are looking at what is happening within the tissues impacted by the immune system to see what cells are active at the time of beta cell destruction. Peripheral blood studies cannot capture this level of detail and it is critical to study human tissue. We really want to stress that we need the combination of blood samples from live donors and tissue from deceased donors if we are to make progress on combatting this disease. Most of our scientists are working with both patient clinical trials and then testing new theories of beta cell destruction within the anatomical donations made to nPOD.
Q: I’m interested in donating my pancreas for research. How can I learn more about nPOD?
A: You’ve found our website. Take a few minutes to view our investigators and learn about the exciting research they do, as well as meet our entire team. If you have any questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.