24 June 2009

Nottingham to Be Famous for More Than Its Sheriff. Maybe.

A research program at Nottingham University has just announced that it believes it has developed a "cure" for Crohn's disease, the obnoxious, painful gastrointestinal disease from which yours truly (among many others across the world) suffers. You can read all about it here. In case you're totally unfamiliar with Crohn's, the immune system (for reasons unknown) gets it into its head that the digestive system is the enemy and it attacks. The result is severe inflammation, which is exacerbated by scar tissue and can be outright debilitating. Anyway, the gist of what they have going on in Nottingham is a procedure in which they replace the anti-digestive system immune cells with new ones. How do they do this? They "eradicate" the offending cells outright and replace them with new ones derived from stem cells.

Sounds great, at first blanche. The article mentions, though, only three participants in the study. Furthermore, the team leader, Professor Chris Hawkey, says he is "hopeful that half or more of the patients that undergo stem cell transplantation may either be cured or have long-term remission." Not to rain on anyone's parade, but it's way too soon to know how effective this procedure will prove to be, and it seems to fall a bit shy of earning the label, "cure." Still, the report is promising and encouraging to those of us suffering from Crohn's disease.

1 comment:

  1. Travis - I already posted a comment of this somewhere (maybe WAC?), but did I miss the point? There have been stem cell transplant therapies for some time now, haven't there?

    I have snappy,quick images of my daughter suffering with this in the horrible ways so many of you do ... and my skin gets cold like goose-flesh and I get an intense wave of heat to my head ...

    I don't know whether stem cells transplants will prove to be the magic (or science?)we need, but I badly WANT to believe in some progressive therapies ...