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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There is a potential new hope for people who suffer from Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s is a painful inflammatory bowel disease that can be difficult to treat. Now, scientists in the United Kingdom are testing a new way to treat it.
Eight years of chronic pain and fatigue from Crohn’s disease became so debilitating that Moeed Majeed had to drop out of college and move home.
“I remember suddenly getting a lot of pain in my abdominal area, having to go to the bathroom a lot more, which was very unusual, and I wasn’t eating a lot because it made me feel sick,” explains Majeed.
A new clinical trial in London is working to help people like Majeed who aren’t responsive to available drugs and surgery.
“What we’re doing is using a patient’s own stem cells to reset their immune system,” stated Professor James Lindsay, the lead trial investigator.
Study participants with Crohn’s receive chemotherapy to wipe out their faulty immune system. Doctors then use a stem cell transplant and hormone treatments to grow a new one.
“Anything that we can do that takes away the duration of that suffering is an excellent thing,” said Lindsay.
The stem cell trial will last about four years. British scientists see real potential to someday improve the lives of patients with Crohn’s.
“The trials are great. I think it’s an awesome thing – especially with people looking to maybe find a cure,” Majeed added.
The same type of stem cell treatment has already been successful in treating multiple sclerosis and arthritis.