‘Off the shelf’ stem cells show promise for perianal fistula

Expanded allogenic adipose-derived stem cells (eASCs) are effective for the treatment of perianal fistula in patients with Crohn's disease, suggest the results of a phase I/II trial.

"These clinical results of eASCs show that eASCs are a safe treatment for fistulas that could overcome most of the problems associated with surgery and systemic anti-TNFs currently used for the management of perianal fistulas," say Fernando de la Portilla (Virgen del Rocio University Hospital, Seville, Spain) and colleagues.

The cells, which are obtained from the adipose tissue of healthy donors, were injected into the sphincter wall of 24 Crohn's disease patients with perianal fistula. Patients received a second injection at 12 weeks if their fistula had not closed and were followed up for 24 weeks.

During the study period, there were 32 treatment-emergent adverse events, of which five were deemed to be treatment-related. This included anal abscess in three patients, pyrexia in one patient, and uterine leiomyoma in another.

Two serious adverse events - pyrexia and perianal abscess - were thought to be related to the treatment procedure and not the treatment itself.

The authors also reported efficacy results as secondary outcomes. In patients who completed the treatment regime, over two-thirds (69.3%) experienced a reduction in at least one of their draining fistulas at 24 weeks.

In addition, 53.3% had closure of at least one opening and 27.8% had complete fistula closure at this time point.

Autogeneic stem cells have already shown efficacy in multiple studies but allogenic cells are considered immune-privileged and therefore can be administered without human leukocyte antigen matching or immunosuppression.

eASC treatment could have many benefits say de la Portilla and colleagues, including a more convenient procedure. They believe it could reduce the need for infliximab when disease is restricted to the perianal region, minimize the incontinence associated with surgery, and potentially reduce the tumor incidence associated with recurrent fistula.

"Additional studies are necessary to confirm in a controlled design the efficacy profile of the eASCs and to establish the best strategy for their administration," they conclude in the International Journal of Colorectal Disease.

Licensed from medwireNews with permission from Springer Healthcare Ltd. ©Springer Healthcare Ltd. All rights reserved. Neither of these parties endorse or recommend any commercial products, services, or equipment.

Kirsty Oswald

Written by

Kirsty Oswald

Kirsty has a B.Sc. in Human Sciences from University College London. After several years working as medical copywriter, she became a medical journalist and is now freelance. Kirsty also works part-time as an editor for a London-based charity. She is particularly interested in the social and cultural aspects of science.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Oswald, Kirsty. (2020, April 02). ‘Off the shelf’ stem cells show promise for perianal fistula. News-Medical. Retrieved on July 01, 2022 from https://www.news-medical.net/news/20121031/Off-the-shelf-stem-cells-show-promise-for-perianal-fistula.aspx.

  • MLA

    Oswald, Kirsty. "‘Off the shelf’ stem cells show promise for perianal fistula". News-Medical. 01 July 2022. <https://www.news-medical.net/news/20121031/Off-the-shelf-stem-cells-show-promise-for-perianal-fistula.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Oswald, Kirsty. "‘Off the shelf’ stem cells show promise for perianal fistula". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/news/20121031/Off-the-shelf-stem-cells-show-promise-for-perianal-fistula.aspx. (accessed July 01, 2022).

  • Harvard

    Oswald, Kirsty. 2020. ‘Off the shelf’ stem cells show promise for perianal fistula. News-Medical, viewed 01 July 2022, https://www.news-medical.net/news/20121031/Off-the-shelf-stem-cells-show-promise-for-perianal-fistula.aspx.


  1. Kim Mayfield Kim Mayfield Canada says:

    Do you know of any clinical trails being held in Canada? My doctors haven't even heard of this treatment yet.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment
You might also like...
Obesity causes COVID vaccines to lose their efficacy more rapidly