CLEVELAND — In this exclusive video from the Cleveland Clinic IBD Master Class, Amy Lightner, MD, associate professor of colorectal surgery at the Cleveland Clinic, discusses her presentation on stem cell therapy for inflammatory bowel disease including perianal Crohn’s disease, other indications, and the limitations of cell-based therapy.
“What’s exciting about mesenchymal stem cell therapy is that there have now been a large number of clinical trials ... that show this therapy is safe and that it’s effective for Crohn’s patients,” Lightner told Healio Gastroenterology and Liver Disease.
According to Lightner, study results from 300 patients showed an efficacy of 83% at 6 months, which is “much better than we have for conventional therapy” and that healing lasts about 1 year to 2 years after one injection with no risk for incontinence.
However, there are significant factors regarding cost that will need to be addressed. For one, cell-based therapies can only be produced in GMP-grade laboratories, which can be costly and therefore it is not feasible to have one in every institution. That leads to a secondary problem in that stem cells only have a shelf-life of 48 hours when delivered fresh.
“There are a lot of things we’re working on in the lab, certainly a lot of room for improvement, but we’re already seeing that it’s safe and that’s it’s really effective for our patients,” she said. “one of the most exciting things is that we’re putting it into all sorts of indications now within IBD — ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s, delivering it locally and delivering it systemically — so I think a lot more in the future is to come from this.”
Disclosure: Lightner reports consulting for Takeda Pharmaceuticals.