Center for IBD / Our Research Programs / Stem Cell Therapy

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Stem Cell Therapy for Crohn's Disease & Ulcerative Colitis

Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are diseases characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.  As they are chronic dieases, treatment involves managing the disease activity and symptoms.  Many IBD patients experience severe disease activity and do not respond to existing treatment options.  For these patients, frequent hospitalization and repeat surgeries are needed to bring about short term disease control.  An alternative treatment option is stem cell therapy.

How Stem Cell Therapy Works

Stem cells are unspecialized cells in the body.  They have 2 characteristics that make them stand out and suitable for medical therapies.  Stem cells are able to divide and renew themselves. They can be induced to become tissue and organ specific cells.  Because of these characteristics, stem cells act as an internal repair system and can replace diseased and damaged tissues.  Stem cell therapy works in IBD by serving as repair systems for specific inflammatory responses.

Stem Cell Therapy for Crohn's disease & Ulcerative Colitis

Our research program in stem cell therapy will pioneer alternative treatment options for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.  We will be focusing on 2 types of stem cell therapy, hematopoietic stem cells and mesenchymal cells.  Hematopoietic stem cells are the progenitors of all blood cells including white blood cells that form the immune system.  With properties that can reduce inflammation and aid in wound healing, mesenchymal stem cells are connective tissue cells that can generate a variety of supportive cell types.  Medical research to date has shown hematopoietic stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells both to be promising options for refractory inflammatory bowel diseases.



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