Crohn’s disease (CD) is an inflammatory bowel disorder that involves loss of immune tolerance in the gastrointestinal tract and T helper 1 delayed-type hypersensitivity of the gut wall, frequently resulting in granuloma formation. The molecular defect causing CD has not been characterized, but probably involves aberrant T cell function. Although CD often responds to immunosuppressive medication including corticosteroids, azathioprine and 6-mercaptopurine, to anti inflammatory drugs such as 5 aminosalicylate (5 ASA), or to some antimicrobial agents, including metronidazole, no therapy has been curative. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is being evaluated as an option for patients with refractory CD. There are several phase II studies and the randomized trial of autologous non-myeloablative therapy vs. standard treatment. There have been several reported cases in which HSCT was used to treat patients with refractory CD and cases involving patients with CD who underwent stem cell transplantation for other reasons. These studies showed varying remission of CD, both clinically and histologically.Hawkey CJ. Stem cell transplantation for Crohn’s disease. Best Pract Res Clin Haematol. 2004;17(2):317-325.
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