Cell Therapy for Crohn’s Disease Fares Well in Preclinical Study; Clinical Trial is Next

Cell Therapy for Crohn’s Disease Fares Well in Preclinical Study; Clinical Trial is Next
An experimental cell therapy for Crohn's disease that involves taking the patient’s white blood cells, restoring their proper functioning in the lab, and giving them back to the patient, has proven effective in a preclinical study. Based on the positive results obtained in human cells growing in the lab, a clinical trial testing the treatment’s safety and effectiveness in patients is planned for the upcoming months. The study “Correction of Defective T-regulatory Cells From Patients With Crohn’s Disease by Ex Vivo Ligation of Retinoic Acid Receptor Alpha” was conducted by researchers at the Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust and King's College London Biomedical Research Centre (BRC). It was published in the journal Gastroenterology. Many human and animal studies have supported a key role for regulatory T cells (Tregs)  in the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). These cells are a specific group of white blood cells that normally work to suppress abnormal immune responses against one's own tissues. It is known, for instance, that Crohn's disease is associated with a deficient number of properly working Tregs at the gut mucosa. In this new study, researchers found that the Treg cells from Crohn's patients also produced less of a gut-specific protein called integrin α4β7, which may explain why these cells behave abnormally in the intestine of patients compared with healthy subjects. Researchers discovered a way to tackle this problem and restore the production of α4β7 integrin by incubating Treg cells with rapamycin (an antibiotic) and a chemical inducer called RAR568. This molecule binds to receptors of retinoic acid (the molecule that mediates most of vitamin A effects), triggering the activation of specific genes
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