Scientists use patients’ own stem cells to lessen damage from Crohn’s disease

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Scientists use patients' own stem cells to lessen damage from Crohn's disease
Scientists use patients' own stem cells to lessen damage from Crohn's disease

Researchers at Emory University and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, GA have begun harvesting mensenchymal stromal stem cells from the bone marrow of patients 18-65* with Crohn’s disease in order to create “personalized cells to “target the inflammatory mechanics” of the disease.
Crohn’s disease tends to present initially in the teens and twenties, with another peak incidence in the fifties to seventies, although the disease can occur at any age

According to pediatric gastroenterologist Dr. Subra Kuathasan of Emory University the idea is to incorporate their own cells in treatments to limit damage caused by intestinal flare-ups (often extending from anus up to the mouth) as opposed to depending on the acceptance of cells from anonymous donors.

Although not considered to be an auto-immune disease, The disease caused the body’s immune system to attack the gastrointestinal tract possibly directed at microbial antigens. Symptoms can include severe abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea and weight loss. In addition, complications can spread to other areas resulting in anemia, skin rashes, arthritis, as well as inflammation of the eye. Patients also complain of fatigue and being unable to concentrate.

According to Kuathasan, “there is a genetic association with Crohn’s disease, principally with variations of the NOD2 gene and its protein, which senses bacterial cell walls.”

Crohn’s disease usually occurs for the first time in teenagers and those in their twenties, with another peak incidence in the 50’s-70’s (although the disease can occur at any age). While the disease affects men and women equally, smokers are twice as likely to develop Crohn’s, and siblings of those with it are also at higher risk than others.Males and females are equally affected. Smokers are two times more likely to develop Crohn’s disease than nonsmokers.

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