The incidence and prevalence of Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), the two major forms of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), are rising in western countries. At the same time, stem cell therapies are gaining a prominent place of interest among clincal investigator. at this time, only phase I studies have been performed and are ongoing in patients with Crohn’s disease. Clinical improvements in some IBD patients have been reported after allogeneic and autologous transplantation of stem cells. In addition, various paremeters of immune functions have improved or normalized in several reported patients.
Experimental and clinical data indicate that both hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells(MSC, which are present in the marrow or are marrow derived, have great potential for those clinical applications that require tissue regeneration or repair promotion, owing to their plasticity and their immunomodulatory properties. Bone marrow transplantation from an unaffected donor is able to ameliorate pathology in a mouse model of chronic genetic-based colitis. Moreover, CD34- bone marrow- and peripheral blood-derived stem cells contributed to mucosal repair via neoangiogenesis in moderate-severe murine colitis and were effective in reducing the pathologic features associated with IBD. Both HSC and MSC transplantation in IBD are currently being evaluated in Phase III clinical trials.
Giacomo Lanzoni, Giulia Roda, Andrea Belluzzi, Enrico Roda, and Gian Paolo Bagnara Inflammatory bowel disease: Moving toward a stem cell-based therapy World J Gastroenterol. 2008 August 7; 14(29): 4616–4626.
Julián Panés et al, Mesenchymal stem cell therapy of Crohn’s disease: are the far-away hills getting closer?