Crohn's disease study uses patients' own bone marrow cells for personalized treatment

An innovative clinical trial using the science of "personalized" cellular therapy is treating older adolescents and adults suffering from Crohn's disease.

Physician-researchers at Emory University and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta are harvesting from older adolescents and adults (18 to 65 years old) with Crohn's – an – and manufacturing personalized cells to target the disease's inflammatory mechanisms, potentially reducing intestinal flare-ups and limiting long-term damage.

Subra Kugathasan, MD, Marcus Professor of pediatric gastroenterology at Emory School of Medicine and a physician with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, is leading the clinical trial, which is supported by the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America and the Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute. This study currently is offered only in Atlanta.

Symptoms of Crohn's disease include severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, weight loss, and the inability for a child to properly grow, resulting in bouts of inflammation that may also affect the entire digestive tract, including the mouth, esophagus and stomach. Available therapies designed to suppress the inflammation do not work in everyone, and bowel resection may eventually be needed. The recurrence of Crohn's disease after bowel resection is very high, highlighting the need for new therapies.

"There is no current answer for what specifically causes Crohn's disease, nor is there a cure," says Kugathasan. "But we hope that through our clinical research, we will be able to significantly improve the course of this disease."

Blood and cells have been used for more than a quarter century to treat life-threatening hematological conditions and are now established therapies worldwide. The current clinical trial uses the patients' own mesenchymal stromal cells from the bone marrow. These cells have been studied by Emory investigators for treatment of autoimmune diseases.

The Crohn's disease clinical trial is the first study launched in partnership with the new Emory Personalized Immunotherapy Center (EPIC) at Emory University Hospital and School of Medicine. No other study has so far combined the technologically innovative and FDA-regulated elements of the Emory and Children's study, says EPIC director Jacques Galipeau, MD.

The personalized cells are derived from the patient's own bone , as opposed to cells derived from an anonymous donor; the process of preparing the cells involves the use of animal-free products; and the are delivered fresh shortly after harvest. The manufacturing of the cell product is performed on site in a dedicated pharmaceutical grade facility within Emory University Hospital.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Potential Crohn's treatment starts clinical trial

Sep 17, 2013

UCF College of Medicine professor Dr. Saleh Naser soon will participate in a clinical trial to test whether a new antibiotic therapy acquired by RedHill Biopharma can be used to treat Crohn's disease patients.

Recommended for you

Vietnam battles fatal measles outbreak

50 minutes ago

Vietnam is scrambling to contain a deadly outbreak of measles that has killed more than 100 people, mostly young children, and infected thousands more this year, the government said Friday.

Researchers discover target for treating dengue fever

17 hours ago

Two recent papers by a University of Colorado School of Medicine researcher and colleagues may help scientists develop treatments or vaccines for Dengue fever, West Nile virus, Yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and other ...

User comments