A growing body of clinical evidence shows that transplantation of a patient's own mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to achieve a cure and prevent recurrent of Crohn's disease-related fistula can be a safe and effective addition to surgery. A comprehensive review of the latest studies of MSC transplantation for Crohn's fistula and a comparison of MSC versus hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) transplantation is published in Human Gene Therapy, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Human Gene Therapy website until October 14, 2017.
Fistulas, especially anorectal fistulas, are a common complication of the inflammatory intestinal disorder Crohn's disease. Coauthors Xiao-mei Zhang, Yu-jing Zhang, Wei Wang, Yu-Quan Wei, and Hong-xin Deng, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China, discuss the clinical research supporting the potential for MSC transplantation to improve surgical outcomes, lower the risk of fistula recurrence, and enhance patients' quality of life. In the article entitled "Mesenchymal Stem Cells to Treat Crohn's Disease with Fistula," the authors examine the unique advantages of MSCs, including ease of collection, low immunogenicity when using a patient's own cells for transplant, and the immunoregulatory activity of MSCs.
"Crohn's disease continues to be a major burden on human health despite newer immunomodulatory therapies, and Crohn's-related fistulas are a particularly intractable problem for many patients," says Editor-in-Chief Terence R. Flotte, MD, Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor of Medical Education and Dean, Provost, and Executive Deputy Chancellor, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA. "This paper demonstrates promising results with mesenchymal stem cells as a novel regenerative medicine approach to this complication. The work could ultimately result in major benefits to many individuals suffering with this disease."