Stem cell transplants could help with Crohn’s disease in the future.
Stem cell transplants could the end misery of Crohn’s disease, scientists hope.
A clinical trial has begun which will use stem cells to grow a new immune system for people with the condition which causes inflammation in the digestive system, leading to chronic pain and extreme tiredness.
Around 115,000 people in Britain suffer from Crohn’s and many fail to respond to current treatments.
Chief investigator Professor James Lindsay, from Queen Mary University of London, said: “We’re hoping that by completely resetting the patient’s immune system through a stem cell transplant, we might be able to radically alter the course of the disease.
“While it may not be a cure, it may allow some patients to finally respond to drugs which previously did not work.”
The use of stem cell transplants to wipe out and replace patients’ immune systems has recently been found to be successful in treating multiple sclerosis and the new trial will investigate whether it could also reduce gut inflammation in Crohn’s.
For the procedure, patients have stem cells harvested from their blood and then chemotherapy is used to wipe out their faulty immune system.
When the stem cells are re-introduced back into the body, they develop into new cells which give the patient a fresh immune system.
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