Our view: Stem cells to create immune systems for people with Crohn’s Disease

06 August 2018

Channel 4 News, ITV News and The Telegraph have all recently reported that stem cell treatments may be used to create immune systems for people with Crohn's Disease.

Queen Mary's Hospital is going to trial using stem cells to create new immune systems for people with Crohn's Disease.

Experts hope the treatment could radically improve the health of people who don't respond to conventional treatment.

Here is our statement on this new treatment:

Stem cell transplants are becoming a very important area of research offering hope to a selective group of seriously ill patients with Crohn’s Disease who have not responded to any conventional treatment.

Effective short-term results have been experienced by some patients, but these are early days, so this work is vital to help establish how widespread the benefit can be. 

This is a dramatic treatment that is not without risk, a previous trial was stopped after the tragic death of a young man, but important modifications to the design trial now mean that less potent chemotherapy drugs are used to mitigate risk.

Longer term follow-up of patients whose immune systems have been reset by this therapy will help to establish whether this promising treatment will bring sustained long-term benefit in patients who still have an underlying genetic tendency to Crohn’s Disease.

Helen Terry, Director or Research,
Crohn's & Colitis UK