Experimental Crohn’s Treatments Show Early Positive Results

Two new therapies have emerged that could allow patients suffering from Crohn’s disease to be able to manage their disease better.

In a study of nine patients, aged 12 to 19 years, with mild to moderate symptoms found that fecal transplants could put their disease into remission, according to results published in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, the official journal of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, Inc.

The study continued for a two, six and 12 week period after their fecal transplant. The stool donor was the mother for seven patients and the father for the other two patients. The goal of fecal matter transplantation in Crohn’s is to alter the fecal microbiome.

Seven of the nine patients had few to no Crohn’s symptoms present within the two weeks of the transplant and a total of five patients were still in remission after the 12 weeks of clinical checkups.

“There was a significant difference in clinical outcome between the patient with the least and most microbial similarity between recipient and donor,” the authors concluded. “This could indicate that the more divergent a Crohn’s patient is from his donor the more the potential benefit of transplantation.”

In the second study, researchers in Seoul, South Korea, used stem cells to repair fistulae, abnormal connections between the intestines and the bladder, which have a high recurrence rate in Crohn’s.

At 24 months, 21 of the 26 patients showed complete healing with no adverse events observed, the researchers reported in Stem Cells Translational Medicine.

“These results strongly suggest that autologous [adipose-derived stem cells] may be a novel treatment option for Crohn’s fistulae,” the authors wrote.

However, it is important to note that there were no comparison groups in either of these studies.