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World J Gastroenterol. 2006 Nov 7;12(41):6665-73.

Hematopoietic cell transplantation for Crohn's disease; is it time?

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Health Sciences Center, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta, T2N 4N1, Canada.



To review all studies in the literature that have assessed Hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) and Crohn's disease (CD) with the ultimate aims of determining if this is a viable treatment option for those with CD. A secondary aim was to review the above literature and determine if the studies shed further light on the mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of CD.


An extensive Medline search was performed on all articles from 1970 to 2005 using the keywords; bone marrow transplant, stem cell, hematopoietic cell, Crohn's disease and inflammatory bowel disease.


We identified one case in which a patient developed CD following an allogeneic HCT from a sibling suffering with CD. Evidence for transfer of the genetic predisposition to develop CD was also identified with report of a patient that developed severe CD following an allogeneic HCT. Following HCT it was found that the donor (that had no signs or symptoms of CD) and the recipient had several haplotype mismatches in HLA class III genes in the IBD3 locus including a polymorphism of NOD2/CARD15 that has been associated with CD. Thirty three published cases of patients with CD who underwent either autologous or allogeneic HCT were identified. At the time of publication 29 of these 33 patients were considered to be in remission. The median follow-up time was seven years, and twenty months for allogeneic and autologous HCT respectively. For patients who underwent HCT primarily for treatment of their CD there have been no mortalities related to transplant complications.


Overall these preliminary data suggest that both allogeneic and autologous HCT may be effective in inducing remission in refractory CD. This supports the hypothesis that the hematolymphatic cells play a key role in CD and that resetting of the immune system may be a critical approach in the management or cure of CD.

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