James ShapiroJames Shapiro, MD/PhD

Office:     2000 College Plaza
Mail:        8215-112 Street, Edmonton AB T6G 2C8
Phone:    780-407-7330
Fax:        780-407-8259
Email:     jshapiro@ualberta.ca






Current Position

Director, Clinical Islet Transplant Program

Director, Living Donor Liver Transplant Program

Research Area


Clinical islet transplantation


Current Research Activities

  • Leading clinical trials in clinical islet transplantation
  • Improving islet transplant survival
  • Switching off cell death pathways
  • Inducing immunological tolerance to transplanted cells and organs
  • Working on improving stem cell transplantation for clinical trial and experimental preclinical studies


Human Studies


  • 1. Caspase inhibitors in clinical islet transplantation
  • 2. New sites for islet and other cellular transplants using an engineered subcutaneous pouch
  • 3. Liraglutide – international multicentre trial in islet transplantation
  • 4. CIT trial consortium – islet alone and islet after kidney transplantation
  • Clinical islet transplant program – www.islet.ca or 780-4071501



Professor James Shapiro is Professor of Surgery, Medicine and Surgical Oncology, and Director of the Clinical Islet Transplant Program and the Living Donor Liver Transplant Program at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. He has a busy hepatobiliary surgical practice in HPB oncology, and in liver and kidney-pancreas transplant surgery. His centre carries out 80 liver transplants per year, and has done around 80 living donor liver transplants. The University of Alberta just celebrated their 1000th liver transplant!


He directs the largest clinical islet transplant program worldwide with almost 170 patients treated, and led the clinical team that developed the "Edmonton Protocol" - the first trial to achieve consistent 100% insulin independence in a series of islet-alone transplant recipients with Type 1 diabetes (published in the NEJM 2000). Before James's trial, the success rate with islet transplantation was less than 8%. He led an international multicentre trial to replicate these findings in 9 international centres (published in NEJM 2006).


He has an active experimental laboratory working on improving long term survival of transplanted islets, and in immunomodulation of transplanted tissues. He is Principle Investigator on several NIH and JDRF-funded clinical trials, including clinical testing of costimulation blockade in islet transplantation.


James has been the recipient of many awards, including a Hunterian Medal from the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the Gold Medal in Surgery from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and the Governor General's Gold Medal. He was recently inducted as Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.


Research Goals


Curing diabetes through cellular transplantation and tolerance


Selected Publications


Islet Transplantation and Beta Cell Replacement Therapy. Shapiro AMJ, Shaw JAM, Editors. Book. Informa Healthcare USA, Inc 2007.


Emamaullee JA, Davis J, Pawlick R, Toso C, Merani S, Cai S, Tseng B, Shapiro AMJ.  The caspase selective inhibitor EP1013 augments human islet graft function and longevity in marginal mass islet transplantation in mice.  Diabetes 2008;57(6):1556-1566.


Merani S, Toso C, Emamaullee J, Shapiro AM.  Optimal implantation site for pancreatic islet transplantation Br J Surg 2008;95(12):1449-1461.


Fiorina P, Shapiro AM, Ricordi C, Secchi A.  The clinical impact of islet transplantation.  Am J Transplant 2008;8(10):1990-1997.


Merani S, Pawlick R, Edgar RL, Toso C, Emamaullee J, Anderson CC, Shapiro AM.  Protein kinase C inhibitor, AEB-071 acts complementarily with cyclosporine to prevent islet rejection in rats.  Transplantation 2009;87(1):59-65.


Emamaullee J, Toso C, Merani S, Shapiro AMJ.  Costimulatory blockade with Belatacept in clinical and experimental transplantation – a review.  Expert Opinion on Biol Therapy 2009;9(6);789-796.


Emamaullee JA, Davis J, Merani S, Toso C, Elliott JF, Thiesen A, Shapiro AM.  Inhibition of Th17 cells regulates autoimmune diabetes in NOD mice.  Diabetes 2009;58(6):1302-1311.


Kin T, O’Gorman D, Zhai X, Pawlick R, Imes S, Senior P, Shapiro AMJ.  Nonsimultaneous administration of pancreas dissociation enzymes during islet isolation.  Transplantation 2009;87(11):1700-1705.


McCall MD, Toso C, Baetge E, Shapiro AMJ.  Are stem cells a cure for diabetes?  Clin Sci (Lond) 2009;118(2):87-97.


Toso C, Isse K, Demetris AJ, Dinyari P, Koh A, Imes S, Kin T, Emamaullee J, Senior P, Shapiro AMJ.  Histologic graft assessment after clinical islet transplantation.  Transplantation 2009;88(11):1286-1293.


Toso C, McCall M, Emamaullee J, Merani S, Davis J, Edgar R, Pawlick R, Kin T, Knudsen LB, Shapiro AMJ.  Liraglutide, a long-acting human glucagon-like peptide 1 analogue, improves human islet survival in culture.  Transpl Int 2010;23(3):259-265.


Koh A, Senior P, Salam A, Kin T, Imes S, Dinyari P, Malcolm A, Toso C, Nilsson B,

Korsgren O, Shapiro AMJ.  Insulin-heparin infusions peritransplant substantially improve single-donor clinical islet transplant success.  Transplantation 2010;89(4):465 – 471.


Emamaullee JA, Davis J, Pawlick R, Toso C, Merani S, Cai S-X, Tseng B, Shapiro AMJ.  Caspase inhibitor therapy synergizes with Costimulation blockade to promote indefinite islet allograft survival.  Diabetes 2010;59:1469-1477.


Toso C, Pawlick R, Lacotte S, Edgar R, Davis J, McCall M, Morel P, Mentha G, Berney T, Shapiro AMJ.  Detecting rejection after mouse islet transplantation utilizing islet protein-stimulated ELISPOT.  Cell Transplant 2010 DOI:  10.3727/096368910X539137 (e-published ahead of print).


McCall M, Toso C, Emamaullee J, Pawlick R, Edgar R, Davis J, Maciver A, Kin T, Arch RH, Shapiro AMJ.  The caspase inhibitor IDN-6556 (PF3491390) improves marginal mass engraftment after islet transplantation in mice.  Surgery 2011 ;150:48-55.


Gala-Lopez B, Senior PA, Koh A, Kashkoush SM, Kawahara T, Kin T, Humar A, Shapiro AMJ.  Late cytomegalovirus transmission and impact of t-depletion in clinical islet transplantation.  Am J Transplant 2011.  doi:10.1111/j.1600-6143.2011.03724.x.

Shapiro AMJ.  State of the art of clinical islet transplantation and novel protocols of immunosuppression.  Curr Diab Rep 2011;11:345-354.


McCall M, Pawlick R, Kin T, Shapiro AMJ.  Anakinra potentiates the protective effects of Etanercept in transplantation of marginal mass human islets in immunodeficient mice.  Am J Transplant 2011.  Doi:  10.1111/j.1600-6143.2011.03796x

Shapiro AMJ.  Strategies toward single-donor islets of Langerhans transplantation.  Curr Opin Organ Transplant 2011;16(6):627-631.


Merani S, Famulski KS, Ramassar V, Shapiro AMJ, Halloran PF.  Characterization of the transcriptome in isolated and transplanted mouse pancreatic islets:  Associations with engraftment and dysfunction.  Islets 2012;4(2):158-166.





Dr Boris Gala-Lopez PhD

Dr Andrew Pepper PhD (postdoc)

Dr Mike McCall PhD

Dr Allison MacIver MSc

Dr Shaheed Merani PhD

Dr Wayne Truong PhD

Dr Christian Toso PhD

Dr Juliet Emamaullee PhD (postdoc)

Dr Sulaiman Nanji PhD


Website Links of Interest


Clinical Islet Transplantation Program