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Animal-free (AF) SERVA Collagenase AF-1 and Neutral Protease (NP) AF GMP Grade have recently become available for human islet isolation. This report describes the initial experiences of 3 different islet transplant centers. Thirty-four human pancreases were digested using 1 vial of the 6 different lots of Collagenase AF-1 (2,000-2,583 PZ-U/vial) supplemented with 4 different lots of NP AF in a range of 50 to 160 DMC-U per pancreas. Isolation, culture, and quality assessment were performed using standard techniques as previously described. All data are presented as mean ± standard error of the mean (SEM). Variability of pancreas weight was associated with a wide range of collagenase and NP activities, ranging from 12.7 to 46.6 PZ-U/g (26.0 ± 1.5 PZ-U/g) and 0.4 to 3.0 DMC-U/g (1.5 ± 0.1 DMC-U/g), respectively. Postpurification islet yield was 296,494 ± 33,620 islet equivalents (IEQ) equivalent to 3,274 ± 450 IEQ/g with a purity of 55.9% ± 3.2%. Quality assessment performed after 2 to 4 d of culture demonstrated a viability of 88.1% ± 1.5% and a stimulation index of 3.7 ± 0.7. Eighteen of the 34 preparations were transplanted into type 1 diabetic patients equivalent to a transplantation rate of 52.9%. Six preparations, which were infused into patients as first transplant, could be analyzed and increased the fasting C-peptide level from 0.11 ± 0.08 pretransplant to 1.23 ± 0.24 and 2.27 ± 0.31 ng/mL 3 and 6 mo posttransplant ( P < 0.05), respectively. Insulin requirements were simultaneously reduced at the same time from 39.2 ± 3.8 IU/d before transplantation to 10.8 ± 4.1 and 4.0 ± 2.3 IU/d, after 3 and 6 mo posttransplant ( P < 0.05), respectively. This study demonstrates the efficiency of AF SERVA Collagenase AF-1 and NP AF for clinical islet isolation and transplantation. The new plant-based production process makes these products a safe new option for the islet field.

Original publication




Journal article


Cell Transplant

Publication Date





1688 - 1693


collagenase, human islet isolation, human islet transplantation, islet quality assessment