New research shows that a special population of stem cells found in cord blood has the innate ability to migrate to the intestine and contribute to the cell population there, suggesting the cells’ potential to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Unrelated to the research in this study, Athersys (ATHX), with it's product candidate, Multistem, is in a Phase II trial in the United States for Inflammatory bowel disease in association with Pfizer.
“These cells are involved in the formation of blood vessels and may prove to be a tool for improving the vessel abnormalities found in IBD,” said lead author Graca Almeida-Porada, M.D., Ph.D., a professor at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
While there is currently no cure for IBD, there are drug therapies aimed at reducing inflammation and preventing the immune response. However, these therapies aren’t always effective. The long-term aim of the research is to develop an injectable cell therapy to induce tissue recovery.
The researchers studied a special population of cells, known as endothelial colony-forming cells, found in
There have been few studies to explore the inherent biologic ability of endothelial colony-forming cells to home to different organs and contribute to tissue-specific cell populations. Evaluating their potential to migrate to the intestine was an obvious choice, said Almeida-Porada, because dysfunctional blood vessels are a hallmark of IBD. Not only are circulating levels of vessel-forming cells reduced in patients with IBD, but a key factor in IBD progression is the development of abnormal or immature blood vessels, which leads to chronic inflammation.
Condensed from the Wake Forest Babtist Medical Center announcement.