Mesenchymal Stem Cell Infusion a Possible Therapy for Crohn’s Fistulas, Review Study Suggests

Mesenchymal Stem Cell Infusion a Possible Therapy for Crohn’s Fistulas, Review Study Suggests
While current treatments for fistulas in Crohn's disease patients have often led to unsatisfactory results, new stem cell-based therapies, specifically mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), have shown great potential, a review analysis has found. The study, “Mesenchymal Stem Cells to Treat Crohn's Disease with Fistula,” was published in the journal Human Gene Therapy. Crohn’s disease patients often develop fistulas, and anorectal fistulas are the most common type. Treatment for fistulas includes surgery — such as fistulotomy, ligation therapy, and anal fistulectomy — although patients often relapse and new fistulas appear. Given this, Crohn’s disease patients need alternative therapy options. “Stem-cell therapies have recently been proposed as a method to address the challenges and prospective medical needs of Crohn’s disease patients in general and those with fistulas,” the study's authors wrote. This method includes infusions of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) or hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). The authors reviewed several studies that suggest that MSCs could improve Crohn’s disease and Crohn’s disease-related fistulas. They point to several unique advantages of using MSC-based therapy for Crohn’s disease, including that they are easily obtained and leave no major mark at the harvesting site, while carrying a lower probability of virus infection. Moreover, using patients’ own (autologous) MSCs means that there is less of a risk of prompting an immune reaction, and it decreases the risk for graft ve
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