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Stem cell therapy: Preparing for its closeup in IBD

Although the data are promising, it may take a long time for this to become a common therapy for patients with IBD.

Research into the use of cell-based therapies as possible treatment options for various diseases exploded over the last several years. 

One of the most recent noteworthy examples has been the use of chimeric antigen receptor T-cells to treat various oncologic diseases. 

But not every disease state is as ready for its closeup regarding the use of cell-based therapies. 

“There is great potential for cell-based therapies in inflammatory bowel disease. It is truly an exciting evolution, but we’re still in its infancy,” Amy Lightner, MD, an associate professor of surgery in the Department of Colon and Rectal Surgery at Cleveland Clinic. 

Lightner, who is also the primary investigator for the Cleveland Clinic’s surgical IBD translational laboratory, noted some of the challenges of applying cell based therapy to various disease states and phenotypes of IBD. 

“People talk about cell-based therapy and expect you can put cells on anything and get it to heal,” she said. “But it’s challenging because we are still using cell therapy in the context of clinical trials, which means that there are strict inclusion and exclusion criteria of each trial. This limits how we can deliver the cells and what types of disease states we can treat. However, as cell-based therapy becomes more widely utilized we will see an expansion in the modes of delivery and indications of use.” 

Because cell-based therapies for IBD are still in the infancy stage and most of the testing still involves safety and efficacy, there have not been many people flocking to study the use of these therapies, according to Lightner. 

William A. Faubion Jr., MD, a consultant in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, agrees that interest has been rather slow in assessing the potential of cell-based therapies in treating patients with IBD, but has been picking up recently. 

“It’s a more active area of research now, probably since the advancement of the program out of Spain and the publication of the ADMIRE trial and then the acquisition of the North American rights to Takeda from TiGenix for a product that has been approved by the European regulatory authorities,” Faubion told Healio Gastroenterology and Liver Disease. “There’s definitely been more interest in the last 3 years, than there has been in the last decade. I think in general however, it’s still an understudied, underserved area.” 

Read full article here.

Posted on: October 1 2019

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