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

disease presents several treatment options. Firstly, doctors choose to use corticosteroids and immunosuppressant and biological drugs to control the inflammatory process and prevent complications of the disease such as stenosis (narrowing of the intestinal lumen) or fistulas (openings from the intestinal lumen to other organs, such as the intestine, bladder, vagina, or skin). However, over the course of the disease, as much as 70% of severe patients require surgery to remove segments affected by the disease, due to failure of the pharmacologic approach. The surgery is occasionally very aggressive for the patient, as it is sometimes necessary to remove the entire colon or large sections of the small intestine, thereby considerably affecting the absorption of food by the intestine, with a resulting deterioration in quality of life and body image (colostomy bag). For this reason, new treatments are being developed for patients in whom this solution has not been an option to date.

Autologous Stem-Cell Transplant: Phases of the Procedure.

When the case is detected (that does not respond to drugs or surgery), the patient undergoes an autologous stem-cell transplant, which is a bone-morrow transplant in which the immune system is reset to prevent it from attacking the intestinal flora. The process lasts approximately 2 months and consists of 6 phases:

  1. Initial Chemotherapy (Cyclophosphamide + G-CSF). In this initial phase, leukopenia or reduction of the number of leukocytes (immune-system cells) in the blood is induced in the patient.

  2. Migration of Stem-Cells to the Blood. Following the previous immunosuppression, the organism reacts by releasing stem cells from the bone marrow into the blood; these are the cells which will later be used for the transplant.

  3. Collection of Stem Cells by means of Apheresis. Apheresis is a technique that separates components of the blood. Here, the stem cells that previously migrated
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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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