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In yet another advance in Adult Stem Cell research, doctors in Barcelona, Spain are now curing Crohn's Disease patients with stem cell therapy using the patient's own stem cells.
Crohn's Disease affects approximately 600,000 Americans and millions more worldwide. It is an irritable bowel disease in which the patients suffer from cramps, diarrhea, and continuous abdominal pain. In many cases, Crohn's Disease sufferers have a diminished quality of life due to the crippling symptoms. For Crohn's Disease patients, there are almost no treatment options, most are not effective.
At the Hospital Clinic, in Barcelona, Dr. Julián Panés and Dr. Elena Ricart are now treating Crohn's patients with Adult Stem Cells taken from the patient's bone marrow. They are reporting that they have treated 6 patients- 3 successfully and 3 others are still being treated. From the press release:
- Hospital Clínic de Barcelona is one of the few hospitals in the world to instate cellular therapy using autologous stem-cell transplantation. In the US, the stem cell 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 Clínic, 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.
To summarize that:
- 11 of 12 Crohn's Disease patients in the USA who underwent the stem cell therapy had very good results. That is almost 92%!!!
- 3 of 4 patients in Italy who received this stem cell treatment had excellent results. That is 75%.
- If we put them both together, 14 of 16 had great results from the Adult Stem Cells-- that is 87.5%Can we call the stem cells a cure yet???
Here are the 6 steps in the Crohn's Disease Stem Cell Treatment process at Hospital Clinic in Barcelona. I imagine it is similar to stem cell transplants elsewhere for Crohn's. :
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 from the bone marrow are separated.
- Cryopreservation of Stem Cells. When the stem cells have been collected by apheresis, they are frozen and preserved until ready for transplant.
- Second Chemotherapy. In this phase, total leukopenia is induced; that is, the immune system is left devoid of leukocytes, ready to be reset with the stem-cell transplant.
- Autologous Stem-Cell Transplant. The patient receives the transplant by means of transfusion with his or her own stem cells. The immune system is reset, leading to remission or reduction of the abnormal inflammatory process of Crohn's disease.
I previously covered Billy Tytaneck
in Canada who was facing surgery from Crohn's Disease and went through this stem cell process. It was a great success story!
I also covered a clinical trial using stem cells
to treat Crohn's Disease in Topeka, Kansas.
Clinical trials testing stem cells
for Crohn's in the United States
And I can't find anything in the archives, but according to my now forgetful 74 year old memory, Dr. Richard Burt at Northwestern University has previously treated Crohn's Disease patients with their own stem cells too.