Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Could stem cells be used to cure Crohn’s Disease?

29.11.2007
Scientists are investigating whether stem cells could be used to ‘re-boot’ the immune system and provide a cure for Crohn’s Disease.

University of Nottingham researchers are launching a major clinical trial to find out whether stem cells taken from a sufferer’s own body could provide effective long-term remission for tens of thousands of people in the UK and many more worldwide.

The Europe-wide trial, which is currently recruiting patients, is the first of its kind in the world to treat Crohn’s. The disease is a chronic ongoing condition that most commonly affects the small intestine and colon. It causes inflammation, deep ulcers and scarring to the wall of the intestine, with main symptoms including pain in the abdomen, diarrhoea, fatigue and weight loss.

It affects around 60,000 people in the UK, with 3-6,000 new cases being diagnosed each year. Currently it has no cure. Normal treatment includes steroids, which cannot be taken long-term, and immune suppressant drugs.

... more about:
»Crohn’s »Disease »Hawkey »cure »hookworm »immune »sufferer »symptoms »trial

But if the Nottingham-led stem cell therapy is successful, Professor Chris Hawkey and colleagues Dr Paul Fortun and Dr Tony Shonde believe that in the future it could just possibly mean a cure for up to 50 per cent of sufferers. The study is featured on a new TV series starting on November 1 on the Community Channel.

Professor Hawkey said: “People with severe Crohn’s have very poor quality of life and at the moment there is no cure for them. So what we are attempting to achieve with this trial is something really quite radical and ambitious — and could make a major difference to the lives of a lot of patients.”

Crohn’s sufferers are genetically predisposed to the disease, which is first triggered in their body when they come into contact with a particular environmental stimulus. Once this happens, the immune system responds — leading to symptoms that blight the lives of sufferers.

Stem cells hold a potential solution to this problem. As the body’s ‘master’ cells, which can be directed to form any type of tissue, they will be extracted from patients and then re-established in their bone marrow to ‘re-boot’ the immune system, taking it back to a state before Crohn’s symptoms were triggered.

Professor Hawkey and his team intend to recruit 48 volunteers who are suffering with the most serious symptoms, from the UK, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland and the Czech Republic and Canada. The study is called ASTIC – which stands for Autologous Stem cell Transplant International Crohn’s Disease trial.

It features in a television series on potential new treatments for people with serious medical conditions, entitled ‘What can science do for me?’ The series, which runs over five weeks and started on the Community Channel on November 1, looks at five people living with a range of chronic conditions including Crohn’s, MS and Cystic Fibrosis and takes them behind the laboratory doors to find out just what science can offer them.

The series follows each person’s journey as they meet scientists working at the cutting edge of research into diagnosis, treatment and prevention of their particular condition — research which should ultimately help others with a similar diagnosis. They are introduced to state-of-the-art diagnostic techniques and meet the scientists behind groundbreaking clinical trials and translational research across the UK.

Crohn’s sufferer Gareth has had the disease for 21 years, and has had most of his small intestine removed. He has channeled his pain, fear and hope into a stand-up comedy show ‘Gutless’ and the programme follows him as he finds out about pioneering treatments for his condition including stem cell therapy.

As part of the programme, Professor Hawkey also outlines another current study, which is investigating the use of hookworms to help in the fight against Crohn’s.

Professor Hawkey and his colleague Professor David Pritchard, with Dr Fortun and Dr Shonde, are seeking to establish whether the tiny parasite, Necator Americanus, could help to reduce symptoms of Crohn's and aid the search for an effective long-term therapy in patients who suffer from a milder form of the disease.

Scientists believe the gut parasite may be linked to levels of autoimmune diseases, as infestation is thought to ‘down-regulate’ the immune response. It is thought that the hookworm is able to reduce the immune response in order to survive inside the gut for years at a time. If the mechanism that allows it to do this can be identified, it could be harnessed as a potential new treatment for a number of conditions.

Patients in the hookworm trial, which is already well underway, are deliberately infected with a small number of the gut parasites to see whether it can achieve such positive results.

Both the stem cell and the hookworm studies into Crohn’s Disease at The University of Nottingham are funded by the Broad Medical Research Program of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, a philanthropic organisation based in California.

Emma Thorne | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk

Further reports about: Crohn’s Disease Hawkey cure hookworm immune sufferer symptoms trial

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>