Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are a collection of diseases associated with chronic inflammation
in the intestinal mucosa and/or transmural involvement. IBD is divided into two main
categories Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). While there is no cure for IBD, current
therapies can only reduce the inflammatory process that causes the signs and symptoms of IBD and
hopefully induce long-term remission. Improved treatment modalities for the complex IBD are still
evolving. The increased understanding of the underlying immunopathology has helped identify new
targeted treatment options in particular the use of stem cell treatments that are capable of modulating the immune system.
Haematopoietic stem cells (HSC) and mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) therapy are both being investigated as a treatment
for IBD. MSC therapy is well tolerated and associated with minimal established side-effects compared to HSC therapy,
which involves ablative chemotherapy. Currently, such stem cell therapy is not a standard of care regimen for IBD.
However, it may potentially become the next generation treatment of choice, especially for severe refractory IBD patients.
Keywords: Crohn’s disease, haematopoietic stem cells, inflammatory bowel disease, mesenchymal stromal cells, stem cell
therapy, ulcerative colitis.
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