July 18, 2008 Stem cells are being studied at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell to heal the gut in subjects suffering from Crohn's disease.
Physician-scientists believe that these cells might help to restore the ability of the immune system to control inflammation by secreting anti-inflammatory proteins into the digestive tract, allowing for regeneration of tissue and prevention of scar tissue.
It is believed that Crohn's disease results from a malfunctioned immune response, leading to uncontrolled inflammation in the tissues of the intestine.
Diarrhea, painful cramping, blood in stool, ulcers and other wounds in the digestive tract are all possible symptoms of the disease.
Patients who have previously failed to benefit from medications for Crohn's disease are enrolled in the trial to test the safety and efficacy of the procedure. Each subject receives four infusions — intravenous transplantation — of mesenchymal stem cells, which are universally compatible in all people, like type-O blood.
Dr. Ellen Scherl—the Jill Roberts Associate Professor of IBD and director of the Jill Roberts Center for IBD at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center—is leading the trial at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell.
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