Stem Cell Transplants to be Used in Treatment for Crohn’s Disease

A clinical trial has begun, led by Queen Mary University of London and Barts Health NHS Trust, which will use Stem Cell Transplants to grow a new immune system for people suffering from Crohn’s Disease, a chronic inflammatory disease of the intestines.
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What is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s disease is a long-term condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system. It results in diarrhea, abdominal pain, extreme tiredness and other symptoms that significantly affect the quality of life. Current Treatments include drugs to reduce inflammation.

The Trial

But as Professor James Lindsay from Queen Mary University of London says, “Despite the introduction of new drugs, there are still patients who don’t respond to all available treatments.” But there is hope that by completely resetting the patient’s immune system through a Stem Cell, the researchers might be able to alter the course of the disease. It may not be a cure, but it may allow some patients to finally respond to drugs that did not work. The use of stem cell transplants has been found successful in treating multiple sclerosis. In the trial, patients undergo chemotherapy and hormone treatment to prepare their stem cells. In addition, chemotherapy is used to wipe out their faulty immune system. When the stem cells are re-introduced back into the body, the stem cells will develop into new immune cells, resulting in a fresh immune system. In theory, this new immune system will not react to the patient’s gut to cause inflammation, which is Crohn’s Disease.

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