Treating Crohn’s with stem cells

idibapsAgain I’m late to the party, but here’s an article about the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona using autologous stem cell transplant for serious Crohn’s disease.

It’s a pretty serious treatment as it uses chemotherapy in the process to “reset” your immune system before replanting your own stem cells back into your body.

“Reset your immune system” you ask?  “That sounds like a big deal”.

Indeed it is. In the two month procudure, the second round of chemo totally knocks out your immune system. The stem cells taken from you earlier in the process are then transplanted back into you.

Get details at the IDIBAPS site.


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4 Responses to “Treating Crohn’s with stem cells”


  1. 1 afragogrunner February 20, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    Very helpful. I might be interning on a stem cell transplant/oncology unity and this is exactly what the interviewer talked about. Sounds intense, and like you said it is.

  2. 2 Chris February 20, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    They are actually doing this in the United States as well. At the University of North Carolina and at Northwestern Memorial in IL. There have been several Crohn’s patients who have received this treatment and retained long term remission. Some claim 10 years plus. However, this obviously does not address the cause of our disease. Canada and the U.K. have similar studies/treatments going on as well.

    There is also another treatment that uses donor cells currently in Phase III trials. It’s called Prochymal. The makers of Prochymal boast there are no side effects from there treatment which is given over the course of 4 IV infusions over a 2 week period. Prochymal is supposed to induce disease remission and mucosa healing. The treatment has recently received approval for use in Graft vs. Host Disease and is supposed to be the next treatment of choice for moderate to severe Crohn’s Disease. The FDA has given it “Fast Track Approval” status as the results of the Phase II trials were so promising.

  3. 3 sharon February 26, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    This is actually a question…. what is the determining factor used in the decision to bring your treatment to this level? Thanks

  4. 4 Chris February 26, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    According to the information I’ve read concerning both treatments, autologus stem cell transplant and a mesenchymal stem cell transplant like Prochymal, is a documented failed response to steroids, immune suppressants, and at least one biologic like Remicade or Humira. I know from my research only 15-20 persons have received a stem cell transplant directly because of Crohn’s. Most other persons who the universities in the U.S. are basing their research off of, received a transplant as treatment for some other ailment.

    From the forums I’ve seen regarding Prochymal, it has all been very promising. As Prochymal is in Phase 3 trials, it’s randomized, double blinded, placebo controlled study. Those participatin in the trials receiver either a full dose of Prochymal (showed maximum results i.e. decease remission in 28 days of first infusion and document mucosa healing); a half dosage (again showed great results); or the placebo. Again, the only side effect Prochymal has documented is that patients smell like an onion for 2-3 days after their infusions because of the preservatives used.

    I love SCD! However, it’s my belief that when Prochymal gets approved, it in combination with SCD will be what so many IBD patient have been looking for!


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