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Manufacturing New Gut to Treat GI Diseases

ScienceDaily, by Staff Dec. 3, 2013 — For those living with gastrointestinal disorders, such as ulcers or Crohn's disease, treatment often means quelling uncomfortable symptoms through medications or dietary changes. But what if one day treatment meant doing away with the old gut for a new gut free of inflamed or diseased tissues? That is where scientists at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are hoping their new study findings will lead. In their work, the researchers were able to grow extensive numbers of intestinal stem cells, then coax them to develop into different types of mature intestinal cells. The study is published online in this month's Nature Methods. "Being able to produce a large inventory of intestinal stem cells could be incredibly useful for stem cell therapy, where the cells could be delivered to patients to treat diseases such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis," said Jeffrey Karp, PhD, Division of Biomedical Engineering, BWH Department of Medicine, co-senior study author. "These cells could also be useful for pharmaceutical companies to screen and identify new drugs that could regulate diseases from inflammatory bowel disease, to diabetes, to obesity. However, to date there hasn't been a way to expand intestinal stem cell numbers." In the "crypts" of the human gut are immature adult stem cells that live alongside specialized cells called Paneth cells. The stem cells remain immature as long as they remain in contact with Paneth cells. But the researchers found that when Paneth cells are removed and replaced with two small molecules involved in cell signaling, these molecules could direct the stem cells to develop into pure populations of proliferating stem cells. By introducing other molecules to the mix, [...]

Clinical Trial Success For Crohn’s Disease Cell Therapy

Thursday, March 31, 2011 By: Science Daily Speaking at the UK National Stem Cell Network annual science meeting, Professor Miguel Forte described research into a new cell therapy for chronic inflammatory conditions such as Crohn's disease. Patient's own blood cells are used to produce a type of cell -- Type 1 T regulatory lymphocyte -- that can reduce the extent of the disease. Professor Forte said "T regulatory lymphocytes are amazing cells - they secrete proteins -- cytokines -- that dampen down the over active immune response that causes the terrible symptoms of chronic inflammatory diseases such as Crohn's. We know that treatments based on these cells can work but the challenge is to develop them in the clinic so as to maximise the benefits and minimise the risk. We must show that these cells are well tolerated and do a good job to treat the disease." Professor Forte and his colleagues at TxCell in Valbonne, France, have used patient's own immune system cells derived from PBMCs -- a type of blood cell -- to treat patients with chronic inflammatory diseases like Crohn's disease. They used these cells, from patients with Crohn's, who had previously been treated with drugs and/or surgery but still had significant symptoms due to treatment resistance to make Type 1 regulatory T lymphocytes, which were then given back to the patients. The purpose of the study was to assess how well patients react in general to the treatment and also to check the efficacy of these cells for treating Crohn's disease. The preliminary results presented today show a good tolerability and, when given the correct dose, patients with severe Crohn's disease that do not respond to other treatments have an improvement [...]