Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Research suggests promise of cell therapy for bowel disease

New research shows that a special population of stem cells found in cord blood has the innate ability to migrate to the intestine and contribute to the cell population there, suggesting the cells' potential to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

"These cells are involved in the formation of blood vessels and may prove to be a tool for improving the vessel abnormalities found in IBD," said lead author Graca Almeida-Porada, M.D., Ph.D., a professor at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The research is published in the current print issue of the journal Hepatology.

Up to 1 million Americans have IBD, which is characterized by frequent diarrhea and abdominal pain. IBD actually refers to two conditions – ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease – in which the intestines become red and swollen and develop ulcers. With IBD, blood vessels in the intestine leak and contribute to inflammation.

While there is currently no cure for IBD, there are drug therapies aimed at reducing inflammation and preventing the immune response. However, these therapies aren't always effective. The long-term aim of the research is to develop an injectable cell therapy to induce tissue recovery.

The work, performed while Almeida-Porada was at the University of Nevada, also involved colleagues from Indiana University School of Medicine. The researchers studied a special population of cells, known as endothelial colony-forming cells, found in cord blood, bone marrow and circulating blood. The finding in 1997 that the cells can contribute to blood vessel formation in adults, not just embryos, initiated the notion of using them for therapy. Studies in humans have validated the ability of these cells to improve reduced blood flow to the limbs and to treat heart diseases.

However, there have been few studies to explore the inherent biologic ability of these cells to home to different organs and contribute to tissue-specific cell populations. Evaluating their potential to migrate to the intestine was an obvious choice, said Almeida-Porada, because dysfunctional blood vessels are a hallmark of IBD. Not only are circulating levels of vessel-forming cells reduced in patients with IBD, but a key factor in IBD progression is the development of abnormal or immature blood vessels, which leads to chronic inflammation.

The cells were injected into fetal sheep at 59 to 65 days gestation. About 11 weeks later, intestinal tissue was analyzed to detect the presence of the human cells. The researchers found that the human cells had migrated to the intestine and contributed significantly to the cell population there.

"This study shows that the cells can migrate to and survive in a healthy intestine and have the potential to support vascular health," said Almeida-Porada. "Our next step will be to determine whether the cells can survive in the 'war' environment of an inflamed intestine."

The researchers also evaluated the ability of the cells to home to the liver. Smaller numbers of cells reached the liver than the intestine, suggesting that new strategies would be needed to enhance the therapeutic potential for this organ.

The research was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute grants HL097623 and HL073737.

Co-authors were Christopher D. Porada, Wake Forest Baptist; Joshua A. Wood, Evan Colletti, Esmail D. Zanjani, University of Nevada, Reno; and Laura E. Mead, David Engram, and Mervin C. Yoder, Indiana University School of Medicine.

Media Contacts: Karen Richardson,, 336-716-4453 or Main Number 336-716-4587.

Karen Richardson | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Inflammation Triggers Unsustainable Immune Response to Chronic Viral Infection
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>