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New therapy with stem cells to treat Crohn's disease
Date:2/19/2009

hat is called irritable bowel disease. It is a chronic genetic disease that occurs when the immune system loses tolerance to the patient's own intestinal flora, leading to an abnormal inflammatory response that continues over time. The results are inflammation and ulceration in different areas of the digestive tract, leading to the symptoms. The disease progresses in the form of unpredictable and variable outbreaks throughout the patient's life and the severity of the symptoms varies according to the level of involvement of the intestines and the patient's response to the assigned treatment. It is a disease that usually affects young people between the ages of 18 and 40 years, and approximately 2000 new cases are diagnosed in Spain every year. Diagnosis is often difficult because it presents symptoms similar to those of other diseases of the digestive tract: abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, fever, general malaise, etc. Patients' quality of life is conditioned by the severity of the disease and, in the most severe cases, prevents them from leading a normal life, with a very high level of suffering due to the acuteness and frequency of the intestinal symptoms.

Hospital Clnic de Barcelona is one of the few hospitals in the world to instate cellular therapy using autologous stem-cell transplantation. In the US, the treatment has been tested on 12 patients with severe Crohn's disease, of whom 11 have had very good results; in Italy, the treatment has been applied to 4 patients, 3 of whom are also showing excellent progress following the transplant. As Hospital Clnic, 6 patients with Crohn's disease are already included in the process and, following the international examples, increasing numbers of patients are expected to choose this option to treat the disease in a state that was, to date, practically untreatable.

In severe cases involving recurrent outbreaks (reactivation of the disease several times throughout the patient's life), Crohn's
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Contact: Maria Trenzado
trenzado@clinic.ub.es
34-932-275-700
IDIBAPS - Institut d'Investigacions Biomdiques August Pi i Sunyer
Source:Eurekalert  

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New therapy with stem cells to treat Crohn's disease
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